CDC Aid Aimed At Tracking, Preventing Murder-Suicides


In five Detroit-area cases in recent weeks, husbands reached for guns, knives, or matchsticks to kill their spouses and themselves. Two women and three men have died, says the Detroit Free Press. Police and abuse prevention agencies don’t know whether such attacks are on the rise. But that is set to change in 2011, with an influx of research money from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Agencies dealing with such abuse hope the information will help them anticipate and prevent future acts of intimate partner murder and murder-suicide.

“The more people know, the more likely we are to intervene in a way that is helpful to the family and the survivors,” said Karen Porter, director of quality assurance for the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board. Experts say the breakup of a marriage is enough to push some men to kill their wives and themselves, even when domestic violence has not played an ongoing part in the relationship. Typically, they feel like the breakup will leave them with nothing to live for, according to researchers. “These situations tend to be men who are totally obsessive, men who think they can’t live without the person: ‘If I’m going to go, you’re going to go, too,’ ” said University of Northern Iowa School of Social Work professor Katherine van Wormer, author of “Death by Domestic Violence, Preventing Murders and Murder-Suicides.” CDC has looped Michigan into the National Violent Death Reporting System, providing $265,000 next year for the state to begin compiling more complete records.

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