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Bull World Health Organ. 2008 Jul;86(7):552-58.

Intimate femicide-suicide in South Africa: a cross-sectional study.

Author information

1
Gender and Health Unit, Medical Research Council, South Africa. shanaaz.mathews@mrc.ac.za

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the incidence and patterns of intimate femicide-suicide in South Africa and to describe the factors associated with an increase in the risk of suicide after intimate femicide (i.e. the killing of an intimate female partner).

METHODS:

A cross-sectional retrospective national mortuary-based study was conducted at a proportionate random sample of 25 legal laboratories to identify all homicides committed in 1999 of women aged over 13 years. Data were collected from the mortuary file, autopsy report and a police interview.

FINDINGS:

Among 1349 perpetrators of intimate femicide,19.4% committed suicide within a week of the murder. Suicide after intimate femicide was more likely if the perpetrator was from a white rather than an African racial background (odds ratio, OR: 5.8; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.21-27.84); was employed as a professional or white-collar worker rather than a blue-collar worker (OR: 37.28; 95% CI: 5.82-238.93); and owned a legal gun rather than not owning a legal gun (OR: 45.26; 95% CI: 8.33-245.8). The attributable fraction shows that 91.5% of the deaths of legal gun-owning perpetrators and their victims may have been averted if this group of perpetrators did not own a legal gun.

CONCLUSION:

South Africa has a rate of intimate femicide-suicide that exceeds reported rates for other countries. This study highlights the public health impact of legal gun ownership in cases of intimate femicide-suicide.

PMID:
18670666
PMCID:
PMC2647481
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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