Background: In the US more than 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. The most severe violence, violence that ends in death, disproportionately affects women. Current or former male intimate partners commit the majority of homicides of females and fifty to 60 % of these homicides are perpetrated with firearms. Most murder-suicides involve intimate partners and the vast majority of these cases are women murdered by intimate partners using a firearm. Little data exist to illuminate the social and legal circumstances surrounding firearm use in intimate partner homicide. Here we describe US Domestic Violence Fatality Review Teams and the planning and development of a National Clearinghouse for Domestic Violence Fatality Reviews. Among other things, the National Clearinghouse will centrally record and harmonize reviews across the US through standardized reporting templates and protocols for gathering de-identified intimate partner homicide case information.
Conclusion: Domestic violence fatality reviews provide a promising yet underutilized data source to understand the links between firearms and domestic violence related deaths. The nascent Clearinghouse can inform policy approaches to address intimate partner homicide as well as firearm-related violence in the United States.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Firearms; Homicide; Injury prevention; Intimate partner violence.