Authors: Naeemah Abrahams, Shanaaz Mathews, Lorna J. Martin, Carl Lombard, and Rachel Jewkes
Title: Intimate Partner Femicide in South Africa in 1999 and 2009
Journal: PLoS Medicine
Year: April 2013
ISSN: 1549-1277 - eISSN: 1549-1676
Full Text: PMC [Free Access]
Death is the most extreme consequence of intimate partner violence. Female homicide studies with data on the perpetrator–victim relationship can provide insights. We compare the results of two South African national studies of female homicide with similar sampling done 10 y apart.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a retrospective national survey using a weighted cluster design of a proportionate random sample of 38 mortuaries to identify homicides committed in 2009. We abstracted victim data from mortuary and autopsy reports, and perpetrator data from police interviews. We compared homicides of women 14 y and older in 2009 with previously published data collected with the same methodology for homicides committed in 1999.
The study found that the rate of female homicide per 100,000 female population in 2009 was 12.9 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 9.3, 16.5), compared to 24.7 (95% CI: 17.7, 31.6) in 1999. The incidence rate ratio of 0.54 (95% CI: 0.20, 0.84) reflects a significantly lower rate in 2009. The rate of intimate partner femicide was 5.6/100,000 in 2009 versus 8.8/100,000 in 1999, with an incidence rate ratio of 0.63 (95% CI: 0.24, 1.02), indicating no difference between rates. Logistic regression analysis of homicide characteristics showed that the odds ratio of suspected rape among non-intimate femicides in 2009 compared to 1999 was 2.61 (95% CI: 1.23, 4.08) and among intimate partner femicides it was 0.84 (95% CI: 0.50, 1.42). The OR of homicide by gunshot was 0.54 (95% CI: 0.30, 0.99) in 2009 versus 1999. There was a significant drop in convictions of perpetrators of non-intimate femicide in 2009 versus 1999 (OR = 0.32 [95% CI: 0.19, 0.53]). Limitations of the study include the relatively small sample size and having only two time points.
Female homicide in South Africa was lower in 2009 than 1999, but intimate partner femicide and suspected rape homicide rates were not statistically different. The cause of the difference is unknown. The findings suggest that South Africa needs greater efforts nationally to implement evidence-based violence prevention.« [Source: PLoS Medicine]