Black Women Murdered by Men are Most Often Killed with a Gun, Almost Always by Someone They Know, According to New VPC Study Released Each Year for Domestic Violence Awareness Month 

For Release:  Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC – The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2005 Homicide Data. This annual report details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender. The VPC releases the study each year to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. Using 2005 data (the most recent available) from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report, the study’s findings include:

  • In 2005, 574 black females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender homicides.
  • Firearms – especially handguns – were the most common weapons used by males to murder black females in 2005. For the 539 homicides where the murder weapon could be identified, 54 percent of black female victims (290 victims) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 81 percent (235 of 290) were killed with a handgun.
  • Where the relationship could be determined, more than 90 percent of black females killed by males in single victim/single offender incidents knew their killers (463 of 502). Nearly 12 times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew (463 victims) than were killed by male strangers (39 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2005. Of black victims who knew their offenders, 60 percent (277 out of 463) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. Ninety-four percent (531 out of 563) of the homicides of black women where the race of the male offender was known were intra-racial.
  • In single female victim/single male offender homicides reported for 2005, 12 percent of black female victims were less than 18 years old (67 victims) and four percent were 65 years of age or older (22 victims). The average age of black female homicide victims was 33 years old.
  • The number of black females shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance (149 victims) was nearly four times as high as the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined (39 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2005.
  • The overwhelming majority of homicides among black females by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents in 2005 were not related to any other felony crime. Most often, black females were killed by males in the course of an argument – usually with a firearm. In 2005, for the 422 homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 91 percent (382 out of 422) were not related to the commission of any other felony.
  • In 2005, black women were murdered at a rate nearly three times higher than white women: 2.89 per 100,000 versus 1.00 per 100,000.

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “These stark numbers should not only make people stop and remember the victims, but also raise awareness of the urgent need for intervention and prevention.”

The study also ranks each state by its rate of total female homicide for females of all races involving one female murder victim and one male offender. Nevada ranks first in the nation in the rate of women killed by men, with a rate of 2.53 per 100,000. Ranked behind Nevada are: Alaska (2.49 per 100,000), Louisiana (2.16 per 100,000), New Mexico (2.15 per 100,000), Mississippi (2.00 per 100,000), Arkansas (1.98 per 100,000), South Carolina (1.97 per 100,000), Alabama (1.88 per 100,000), Tennessee (1.87 per 100,000), and Oklahoma (1.84 per 100,000). Nationally, the rate of women killed by men in single victim/single offender instances was 1.32 per 100,000.





About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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