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Older adults and violence: an analysis of Domestic Homicide Reviews in England involving adults over 60 years of age


Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) are conducted when an individual aged 16 or over appears to have died from violence, abuse or neglect by a person to whom they are related or with whom they are in an intimate relationship or who is a member of the same household. DHRs aim to identify lessons to be learned, to improve service responses to domestic abuse and to contribute to prevention of domestic abuse/homicide. We submitted Freedom of Information requests to English Local Authorities to identify DHRs where victim, perpetrator or both were aged over 60. Collected Reports and/or Executive Summaries were thematically analysed. Analysis identified four key themes in the context of the key relationship and caring: major mental illness of the perpetrator; drug and/or alcohol abuse; financial issues; and a history of domestic abuse in key or family relationships. We analysed 14 adult family homicides, 16 intimate partner homicides and five homicide–suicides. Age per se did not emerge as a significant factor in our analysis. Terminology needs to be standardised, and training/education regarding risk assessment needs to be improved in relation to age, myths around ageing/dementia and stresses of caring. Management of mental illness is a key factor. A central repository of DHR Reports accessible for research and subject to regular review would contribute to maximising learning and improving practice.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Susan M. Benbow, Centre for Ageing Studies, University of Chester, Riverside Campus, Chester CH1 1SL, UK E-mail:
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Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
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