Unravelling intimate partner violence

  • Fortin, Francis (PI)
  • Paquette, Sarah (CoI)
  • Chopin, Julien (CoI)
  • Guay, Jean-Pierre (CoI)

Project Details


This research collaboration between university scholars and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) aims to address the shortcomings of existing studies on domestic violence and perpetrators. By leveraging a substantial dataset spanning two decades and involving approximately 110,000 individuals, collected from police databases and criminal records in Quebec, the study seeks to comprehensively analyze the legal trajectory of domestic violence cases and the criminal pathways of offenders. Through innovative approaches and close collaboration with the SQ, the research aims to provide insights into the factors influencing the legal treatment of domestic violence incidents and the management of risk associated with perpetrators.

Key findings

The research delved into the criminal careers of people who had been involved in at least one incidence of lethal and non-lethal intimate partner violence in Quebec, Canada, over three decades. Statistics indicate that approximately 20 per cent of all homicides in the country are attributed to IPH. The study gathered insights from a database of criminal events recorded by police in the Quebec province between 1990 and 2022. We found similar characteristics between individuals who committed lethal and non-lethal violence towards their partner. On average, offenders committed two incidents of violence against their partner and 7 other criminal events, with the first event happening in their early 30s. Factors associated with intimate partner homicide include violent criminal history and repetition of criminal acts. Both male and female IPH offenders used sharp weapons, with patterns suggesting various motives including self-defence, fear, and anger. The findings also suggest the likelihood of an intimate partner homicide is stable over a criminal career. There were two distinct categories of violence that indicated how long until an intimate partner homicide was committed. The first was severe violence – such as sexual assaults and physical violence – which would result in the victim’s death early in the offender’s criminal career. The second was chronic violence, where there was a persistent pattern of aggression and abuse over an extended period and the death occurred after a longer period of time.
Effective start/end date4/04/221/05/24