Cover image for Understanding domestic homicide
Understanding domestic homicide
Websdale, Neil.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Northeastern University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 289 pages ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library HV6626.22.F6 W43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This groundbreaking examination of murder among intimate partners considers domestic homicides in all their guises -- not just those occurring between sexual partners but the killing of children, parents, and siblings as well. Unlike previous studies of domestic killings, which focus on statistical findings, the work illuminates the complex factors that motivate intimate partner murders.

Drawing on extensive documentary sources and field research, Neil Websdale unearths the case histories of some 300 homicides involving family members and frames them within their interpersonal, familial, situational, and cultural contexts. He explores the kinship systems of various cultural groups (African American, Latino, Caucasian, and Asian American), discusses types of social and gender oppression, and explores the nature of families that experience domestic homicide. He also examines how these murders are covered by the media and looks at social policy initiatives designed to reduce such incidents.

By exploring the cultural patterns and the intricate workings of power struggles revealed by these cases, Understanding Domestic Homicide expands one's understanding of such disconcerting crimes.

Author Notes

Neil Websdale is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University and also provides domestic homicide prevention consultation for the State of Florida. His first book, Rural Woman Battering and the Justice System: An Ethnography, won the 1999 Outstanding Book Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
Claire Renzetti, editor of the Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law, is Professor and Chair of Sociology at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Websdale's book is based on information he gathered during a research project supported by the Florida Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence. The first chapter is a light review of the literature; a series of chapters follow based on type of offender or type of victim that use case descriptions to illustrate a number of situational factors or explanatory factors common to domestic homicides. Websdale applies a broad definition of domestic homicide that includes children and friends who are intimate but not living together. The author does not discuss the research design or data collection process, nor does he present a developed theoretical perspective. The final chapter does offer a set of summary perspectives. The book is well written and easy to read. Websdale makes limited use of summary tables. The work is lightly referenced and adequately indexed. Recommended for libraries with holdings in criminal justice, counseling, and clinical psychology. Upper-division undergraduates. R. T. Sigler University of Alabama

Table of Contents

List of Tablesp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
1. Researching Domestic Homicidep. 1
2. Men as Perpetrators of Multiple Killingsp. 28
3. Women as Perpetrators of Multiple Killingsp. 63
4. The Death of Women in Single Killingsp. 78
5. The Death of Men in Single Killingsp. 119
6. The Death of Childrenp. 167
7. Making Sense of Domestic Homicidep. 204
Appendix 1p. 237
Appendix 2p. 240
Appendix 3p. 242
Notesp. 247
Referencesp. 267
Indexp. 281

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