Homicide-suicide in ghana: Perpetrators, victims, and incidence characteristics

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Abstract

Homicide-suicide in the industrialized West has been studied for many years. Yet, only limited scholarly research currently exists on the subject in Africa and other non-Western societies. The aim of the present descriptive study was to investigate homicide-suicides in contemporary Ghana. A content analysis of homicide-suicide reports in a major Ghanaian daily newspaper during 1990 to 2009 was conducted. The results overwhelmingly support findings in the literature, suggesting that homicide-suicides are extremely rare events in Ghana. The overwhelming majority of reported homicide-suicides were committed by males, with females substantially more likely to be the homicide victims. The offenders and victims were generally of low socioeconomic status. Most homicide-suicides involved victims and offenders who were intimately acquainted as family members. The majority of cases involved men who killed their wives on suspicion of infidelity; the next largest category involved men who murdered wives who threatened divorce or separation. The principal homicide and suicide methods were shooting with firearms, hacking with machetes, and stabbing with knives. The findings of the study are discussed in relation to Ghana's patriarchal family system and ideology and present socioeconomic issues in the country. This study recommends further research on this subject in Ghana and other African countries. This is necessary to further an understanding of homicide-suicide as a phenomenon, as well as a necessary prelude to the development and implementation of effective preventive programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-387
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Ghana
  • homicide
  • homicide-suicide
  • murder-suicide
  • suicide

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