Workplace homicides among U.S. women: the role of intimate partner violence

Ann Epidemiol. 2012 Apr;22(4):277-84. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.02.009.


Purpose: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an important public health issue with serious consequences for the workplace. Workplace homicides occurring to U.S. women over a 6-year period, including those perpetrated by an intimate partner, are described.

Methods: Workplace homicides among U.S. women from 2003 to 2008 were categorized into type I (criminal intent), type II (customer/client), type III (co-worker), or type IV (personal relations) events using the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Fatality rates were calculated and compared among workplace violence (WPV) types, occupations, and characteristics including location of homicide, type of workplace, time of day, and weapon used.

Results: Between 2003 and 2008, 648 women were feloniously killed on the job. The leading cause of workplace homicide for U.S. women was criminal intent, such as robbing a store (n = 212; 39%), followed by homicides perpetrated by a personal relation (n = 181; 33%). The majority of these personal relations were intimate partners (n = 142; 78%). Over half of workplace homicides perpetrated by intimate partners occurred in parking lots and public buildings (n = 91; 51%).

Conclusions: A large percentage of homicides occurring to women at work are perpetrated by intimate partners. WPV prevention programs should incorporate strategies to prevent and respond to IPV.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult