PolitiFact: Most women’s killers are ‘intimate partners’


New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants state lawmakers to pass a bill he believes would prevent more women from being murdered by people close to them. The bill would remove guns from people convicted on misdemeanor domestic-violence charges. Guns are currently only taken away if someone has a felony conviction for domestic violence.

New York state already has one of the lowest rates of gun-caused death in the country, but Cuomo believes the proposal could drive that number lower.

Is he right that half of women murdered in the U.S. are killed by their intimate partners?

Cuomo’s claim comes from data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017. The agency looked at the homicides of 10,018 adult women in 13 states from 2003 to 2014. The relationship between the victim and the suspect was known in 8,028 of the cases.

Of those, 4,442 homicides, or 55.3 percent, involved an intimate partner, defined as a current, former, or unspecified spouse or romantic partner. Women killed while intervening in an incident of intimate-partner violence, such as a friend or family member, were also counted in this category.

Almost 80 percent of intimate-partner homicides involved a current intimate partner. About 11 percent of victims had experienced violence involving their intimate partner in the month preceding their death.

An argument preceded the victim’s death in about a third of intimate-partner homicides, the report found.

The report does not include data on the criminal history of the suspects, so it’s not known how many had a history of domestic violence. But the agency did collect information on the type of weapon used in each homicide.

A firearm was used in 5,234 of the total homicides, or almost 54 percent. That’s more than double the number of victims killed with a sharp instrument, the next most-documented weapon.

A report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found an estimated 45 percent of female homicide victims were killed by an intimate partner in 2007.

Numbers in New York state mirror national data. About 48 percent of female domestic homicides in New York state involved an intimate partner in 2016, according to a report from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. A firearm was used in about a third of all domestic homicides in New York state.

The state data does not include homicides where there was no known relationship between the suspect and victim.

Our ruling

Data collected by the CDC supports Cuomo’s claim. More than half of the female homicides the agency studied involved an intimate partner when the relationship was known.

We rate his claim True.


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