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Pauline Aarten and Marieke Liem in ‘Politie en Wetenschap’ with their new research

Commissioned by ‘Politie en Wetenschap’, Pauline Aarten, Assistant Professor at Leiden University, and Marieke Liem, Associate Professor at Leiden University, published their new research last week. The study "When barking dogs bite: A comparison between fatal and non-fatal domestic violence" investigated how fatal domestic violence (partner killing and child killing) can be distinguished from non-fatal domestic violence (partner abuse and child abuse).

The study examined which criminal, individual and relational characteristics distinguish fatal domestic violence from non-fatal domestic violence. Over 600 cases were analyzed to answer this question.

The study did not aim to develop a checklist of "predictors" for upcoming fatal violence. Nevertheless, the results do provide clues for the police and its chain partners about risks. In partner killing, the (fear of) divorce poses an increased risk of victimization. This finding emphasizes the need for the police and its partners to be alert to continued threats from ex-partners (such as threats and stalking) and attempts to re-establish a relationship with their ex-partner. In the prevention of infanticide, the research results show that specific attention should be paid to a deterioration in the psychological condition of the parent. In addition, (increasing) tensions between (step) parents and (step) children form an important red flag to provide timely help.

For the full study and press release, click here (Dutch only).

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