Understanding the Horrors of Familicide: A Sociological Perspective on Fatality Review, Risk Assessment and Coordinated Responses in Unique Cases of Domestic Violence Homicide
The Podcast on Crimes Against Women welcomes Professor of Sociology Dr. Neil Websdale to explore the subject of familicide - the killing of a spouse or partner, one or more of the children, and followed by the suicide of the perpetrator.
Familicidal incidents number just 10 to 20 homicides each year in the U.S., yet they captivate national attention through their profound horror and extreme atrocity. Through a sociological lens, Dr. Websdale expands our understanding of what constitutes a familicidal killing, the motivations of those actions, how these crimes impact our society and more. Leaning into his extensive experience with fatality review of domestic violence cases, Dr. Websdale explains the shortcomings and opportunities of traditional approaches to domestic violence homicides such as the power and control wheel, lethality assessments, coordinated community responses, law enforcement training et al, with the ultimate recommendation that these unique and complex crimes require unique and layered solutions that include a wider perspective in order to understand them and prevent future atrocities.
Dr. Websdale is the Director of the Family Violence Institute at Northern Arizona University and Director of the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative (NDVFRI). Dr. Websdale has published work on domestic violence, the history of crime, policing, social change, and public policy. He has authored five books, with the most recent being Familicidal Hearts: The Emotional Styles of 211 Killers was published by Oxford University Press in 2010. Dr. Websdale is a past presenter at the Conference on Crimes Against Women.