The "Pathways to intimate partner homicide" project: Key stages and events in male-perpetrated intimate partner homicide in Australia


Women in Australia are most likely to be killed by a current or former intimate partner. However, an understanding of intimate partner homicide incidents with women victims in Australia, particularly the nature and course of the relationship between the victim and offender, is currently limited. This gap in the research is notable considering the importance of such information for identifying potential intervention points, as well as events and behaviours that could foreshadow fatal outcomes within relationships.

Based on the analysis of 199 incidents of male-perpetrated homicide of a female intimate partner that occurred in Australia over a 10-year period, this report describes three key pathways to male-perpetrated IPH where the victim was female: Fixated Threat, Persistent and Disorderly, Deterioration/Acute Stressors. These pathways were differentiated from one another using a number of key criteria, including the nature of violence and abuse within the relationship, the extent to which the offender was ‘visible’ to criminal justice agencies, the locus of control within the relationship, the status of the relationship at time of the lethal violence and the presence of factors that impacted the ability of the offender to regulate their emotions effectively. The implications of these pathways for intervention and disruption of IPH pathways are also described in detail.


  • List of tables
  • List of figures
  • List of case studies
  • Acronyms
  • Definitions and concepts

Executive summary

  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion and implications for policy and practice
  • Conclusion



  • Incident selection
  • Data coding
  • Analysis
  • Limitations
  • Final sample


  • Crossover cases

Themes associated with intimate partner homicide

  • Key theme 1: The emotional, mental and physical health of offenders
  • Key theme 2: Offender experiences of trauma
  • Key theme 3: Separation
  • Key theme 4: Hegemonic masculinities and traditional gender norms
  • Key theme 5: Pre- and post-migration experiences


  • Before the relationship started
  • After the start of the relationship
  • Changes in patterns of violence and abuse within the relationship
  • Key events that increased the likelihood of lethal violence occuring
  • Implications for policy and practice



Appendix A: Literature review