Femicide in a small Nordic welfare society

the case of Iceland

Keywords: femicide, intimate partner homicide, risk factors, ecological model, Nordic country, social work

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine femicide cases in Iceland, which is a small Nordic welfare society. Cases of femicide were explored during a 30-year time period from 1986-2015. Femicide was defined as the murder of a woman by a partner, former partner or related to passion. Verdicts and news of the incidents were analysed. Verdicts were found using the search machine Fons Juries, run by a private legal company, which collected all verdicts from the Supreme Court from 1920, and all verdicts from the district courts existing in electric form. News that included murders of women was collected from websites of the main newspapers in Iceland. Eleven women were killed during this time period according to the definition used in this study. Most of the incidents happened in the home of the perpetrator, victim or both. Nearly all of them took place during the night or in the evening during weekends, with more incidents occurring during cold and dark months than brighter and warmer months. All of them took place in the capital city or in that area. Strangulation was the most common murder method, followed by stabbing the woman with a knife. Only one woman was shot, and that perpetrator was the only one who killed himself afterward. The mean age of the perpetrators was 29. Most of them had a low level of education or their education was unknown, and had a low paying job. Two-thirds of them were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when the incident happened and the majority had a psychiatric problem, mainly personality disorders or symptoms of such disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder. Even though it is rare, femicide incidents do exist in a small Nordic welfare society such as Iceland, despite an extensive welfare policy and gender equality.

Author Biography

Freydís Jóna Freysteinsdóttir

(MSW, PhD), associate professor
University of Iceland
Sturlugata 2,101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 5254334
fjf@hi.is

References

Agathonos-Georgopopoulou, H. (1992). Cross-cultural perspectives on child abuse and neglect. Child Abuse Review, 1(2), 80-88.

Almenn hegningarlög nr. 19/1940. [General criminal laws nr. 19/1940].

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorder DSM-5 (5. edition). Arlington: Author.

Árnadóttir. Þ. (2013). Barnaverndartilkynningar sem fela í sér líkamlegt ofbeldi gagnvart börnum og ofbeldi sem börn verða vitni að. [Child protection reports that include physical abuse against children and violence that children witness]. Óbirt MA ritgerð [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Reykjavík: Háskóli Íslands, félagsvísindasvið.

Belsky, J. (1980). Child maltreatment: An ecological integration. American Psychologist, 35(4), 320-335. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.35.4.320

Beyer, K. M. M., Layde, P. M., Hamberger, K. L., & Laud, P. W. (2015). Does neighborhood environment differentiate intimate partner femicides from other femicides? Violence Against Women, 21(1), 49-64. doi:10.1177/1077801214564075

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 32(7), 513-530. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.32.7.513

Bugeja, L., Dawson, M., McIntyre, S., & Walsh, C. (2015). Domestic/Family violence death reviews: An international comparison. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 16(2), 179-187. doi:10.1177/1524838013517561

Campbell, J. C., Glass, N., Sharps, P. W., Laughon, K., & Bloom, T. (2007). Intimate partner homicide. Review and implications of research and policy. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 8(3), 246-269. doi:10.1177/1524838007303505

Campbell, J. C., Webster, D., Koziol-McLain, J., Block, C., Campbell, D., Curry, M. A., Laughon, K. (2003). Risk factors for femicide in abusive relationships: Results from a multisite case control study. American Journal of Public Health, 93(7), 1089-1097. doi:10.2105/AJPH.93.7.1089

Christensen, M. R., Thomsen, A., Høyer, C. B., Gregersen, M., & Banner, J. (2016). Homicide in Greenland 1985-2010. Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology, 12(1), 40-49. doi: 10.1007/s12024-015-9729-x

Comas-d’Argemir, D. (2015). News of partner femicides: The shift from private issue to public problem. European Journal of Communication, 30(2), 121-136. doi:10.1177/10267323114544865

Corradi, C., & Stöckl, H. (2014). Intimate partner homicide in 10 European countries: Statistical data and policy development in a cross-national perspective. European Journal of Criminology, 11(5), 601-618. doi:10.1177/1477370814539438

Dobash, R. E., & Dobash, R. P. (2011). What were they thinking? Men who murder an intimate partner. Violence Against Women, 17(1), 111-134. doi:10.1177/1077801210391219

Dobash, R. P., & Dobash, R. E. (2012). Who died? The murder of collaterals related to intimate partner conflict. Violence Against Women, 18(6), 662-671. doi: 10.1177/1077801212453984

Dobash, R. E., Dobash, R. P., & Cavanagh, K. (2009). “Out of the blue”: Men who murder an intimate partner. Feminist Criminology, 4(3), 194-225. doi:10.1177/1557085109332668

Dobash, R. E., Dobash, R. P., Cavanagh, K., & Lewis, R. (2004). Not an ordinary killer-just an ordinary guy: When men murder an intimate woman partner. Violence Against Women, 10(6), 577-605. doi:10.1177/1077801204265015

Dobash, R. E., Dobash, R. P., Cavanagh, K., & Medina-Ariza, J. (2007). Lethal and non-lethal violence against an intimate female partner: Comparing male murderers with non-lethal abusers. Violence Against Women, 13(4), 329-353. doi:10.1077801207299204

Doctor.is (n.d.). Áhrif skammdegis á líðan okkar [The effects of a short daylight on our well-being]. Retrieved November 7th 2017 from http://doktor.is/grein/ahrif-skammdegis-a-lidan-okkar

Elisha, E., Idisis, Y., Timor, U., & Addad, M. (2010). Typology of intimate partner homicide. Personal, interpersonal, and environmental characteristics of men who murdered their female intimate partner. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 54(4), 494-516. doi:10.1177/0306624X09338379

Eriksson, L., & Mazerolle, P. (2013). A general strain theory of intimate partner homicide. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18(5), 462-470. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2013.07.002

Farr, K. A. (2002). Battered women who were ‘being killed and survived it’: Straight talk from survivors. Violence and Victims, 17(3), 267-81. doi:10.1891/vivi.173.267.33660

Finkelhor, D. (1983). Common features of family abuse. In D. Finkelhor, R. J. Gelles, G. T. Hotaling & M. A. Straus (Eds.), The Dark Sides of Families (pp. 17-28). Newbury Park: SAGE.

Frye, V., & Wilt, S. (2001). Femicide and social disorganization. Violence Against Women, 7(3), 335-351. doi:10.1177/10778010122182479

Garcia, L., Soria, C., & Hurwitz, E. L. (2007). Homicides and intimate partner violence: A literature review. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 8(4), 370-383. doi:10.1177/1524838007307294

Gracia, E., & Merlo; J. (2016). Intimate partner violence against women and the Nordic paradox. Social Science and Medicine, 15(7), 27-30. doi: 0.1016/j.socscimed.2016.03.040

Hagstofa Íslands (2016a). Mannfjöldi eftir kyni og aldri 1841-2016 [Population by sex and age 1841-2016]. Retrieved July 5, 2016 http://px.hagstofa.is/pxis/pxweb/is/Ibuar/Ibuar__mannfjoldi__1_yfirlit__Yfirlit_mannfjolda/MAN00101.px/table/tableViewLayout1/?rxid=f61ddbae-80a7-4544-9804-18597b53ff9e

Hagstofa Íslands (2016b). Erlendir ríkisborgarar 1950-2015 [Foreign citizens 1950-2015]. Retrieved July 7, 2016 http://px.hagstofa.is/pxis/pxweb/is/Ibuar/Ibuar__mannfjoldi__3_bakgrunnur__Rikisfang/MAN04001.px/table/tableViewLayout1/?rxid=c0968fff-7cd8-4d47-ad39-90e66c317827

Jewkes, R. (2002). Intimate partner violence: Causes and prevention. The Lancet, 359(9315), 1423-1429. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(02)08357-5

Johnson, H., & Hotton, T. T. (2003). Losing control: Homicide risk in estranged and intact intimate relationships. Homicide studies, 7, 58-84. doi:10.1177/108876902239243

Kamerman, S. B., & Kahn, A. J. (1995). Starting right. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Karlsdóttir E., & Arnalds. Á. (2010). Rannsókn á ofbeldi gegn konum: Reynsla kvenna á aldrinum 18-80 ára á Íslandi [A study on violence against women: The experience of women in the age range of 18-80 in Iceland]. Reykjavík: Rannsóknarstofnun í barna- og fjölskylduvernd and Félags- og tryggingamálaráðuneytið.

Kivivuori, J., & Lehti, M. (2012). Social correlates of intimate partner homicide in Finland: Distinct or shared with other homicide types? Homicide Studies, 16(1), 60-77. doi:108876911428815

Kristoffersen, S., Lilleng, P. K., Mæhle, B. O., & Morild, L. (2014). Homicides in western Norway, 1985-2009, time trends, age and gender differences. Forensic Science International Online, 23(8), 1-8. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.02.013

Krulewitch, C. J., Roberts, D. W., & Thompson, L. S. (2003). Adolescent pregnancy and homicide: Findings for the Maryland office of the chief medical examiner 1994-1998. Child Maltreatment, 8(2), 122-128. doi:10.1177/1077559502250829

Liem, M., Barber, C., Markwalder, N., Killias, M., & Nieuwbeerta, P. (2011). Homicide-suicide and other violent deaths: An international comparison. Forensic Science International Online, 207(1), 70-76. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.09.003

Marcuello-Servós, C., Corradi, C., Weil, S., & Boira, S. (2016). Femicide: A social challenge. Current Sociology, 1-8.

Messing, J. T., Campbell, J. C., Brown, S., Patchell, B., Androff, D. K., & Wilson, J. S. (2014). The association between protective actions and homicide risk: Findings from the Oklahoma lethality assessment study. Violence and Victims, 29(4), 543-463. doi:10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-13-00013

Myers, S. R., Branas, C. C., French, B. C., Nance, M. L., Kallan, M. J., Wiebe, D. I., & Carr, B. G. (2013). Safety in numbers: Are major cities the safest places in the United States? Annuals of Emergency Medicine, 62, 408-418e3.

Nicolaidis, C, Curry, M. A., Ulrich, Y., Sharps, P., McFarlane, J., Campbell, D., Campbell, J. (2003). Could we have known? A qualitative analysis of data from women who survived an attempted homicide by an intimate partner. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 18(10), 788-794. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.21202.x

Rubin, A., & Babbie, E. R. (2005). Research methods for social work (5th ed.). Belmont: Thomson Learning.

Sabri, B., Stockman, J. K., Bertrand, D. R., Campbell, D. W., Callwood, G. B., & Campbell, J. C. (2013). Victimization experiences, substance misuse, and mental health problems in relation to risk for lethality among African American and African Caribbean women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(16), 3223-3241. doi:10.1177/0886260513496902

Sabri, B., Stockman, J. K., Jamila, K., Campbell, J. C., O‘Brien, S., Campbell, D., Hart-Hyndman, G. (2014). Factors associated with increased risk for lethal violence in intimate partner relationships among ethnically diverse black women. Violence and Victims, 29(5), 719-741. doi:10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-13-00018

Sharps, P. W, Koziol-McLain, J., Campbell, J. J., McFarlane, J., Sachs, C., & Xu, X. (2001). Health care providers’ missed opportunities for preventing femicide. Preventive Medicine 33(5), 373–380. 10.1006/pmed.2001.0902

Smith, M.D. (1990). Patriarchal ideology and wife beating: A test of a feminist hypothesis. Violence and Victims, 5(4), 257-273.

Smith, S. G., Fowler, K. A., & Niolon, P. H. (2014). Intimate partner homicide and corollary victims in 16 states: National violent death reporting system, 2003-2009. American Journal of Public Health, 104(3), 461-466. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301582

Stöckl, H., Devries, K., Rotstein, A., Abrahams, N. Campbell, J., Watts, C., & Moreno, C. G. (2013). The global prevalence of intimate partner homicide: A systematic review. The Lancet, 382(9895), 859-865. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61030-2

Taylor, R., & Jasinski, J. L. (2011). Femicide and the feminist perspective. Homicide Studies, 15(4), 341-362. doi:10.1177/1088767911424541

Timeanddate.com. (n.d.). Reykjavík – Iceland. Sunrise, sunset and daylight. Retrieved November 7th 2017 from https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/iceland/reykjavik?month=12&year=2016

Tran, T. D., Nguyen, H., & Fisher, J. (2016). Attitudes towards intimate partner violence against women among women and men in 39 low-and middle-income countries. Plos One, 11(11), e0167438. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167438

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2011). Global study on homicide. Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Retrieved July 4, 2016. http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/statistics/Homicide/Globa_study_on_homicide_2011_web.pdf

Violence Policy Center (2013, September). When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2011 Homicide Data. Washington DC: Author. Retrieved May 31, 2016 http://media.wix.com/ugd/f4bdb8_7c98f50ec1d1e8b205e63ee5248d7169.pdf

World Economic Forum (2016). Rankings. Retrieved September 27, 2016 http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2014/rankings/
Published
2018-07-25
How to Cite
Freysteinsdóttir, F. J. (2018). Femicide in a small Nordic welfare society: the case of Iceland. Journal of Comparative Social Work, 13(1), 35 - 56. https://doi.org/10.31265/jcsw.v13i1.158
Views
  • Abstract 400
  • PDF 214