Intimate Partner Femicide-Suicide in Eswatini: Offenders, Victims, Incident Characteristics and Sociocultural Contexts

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The current article reports the results of a systematic study of 42 intimate partner femicide-suicides with 91 fatal casualties in Eswatini, Africa, from 2009 to 2022. The study used a media-surveillance methodology to identify the 42 cases from a major local online newspaper. Information on all identified cases was subjected to careful criminological analyses. Six of the cases involved seven collateral, or corollary, homicide victims. Results indicate that assailants and victims were generally of lower socio-economic background; assailants tended to be older than their victims; stabbing with a knife, shooting with a gun and slashing with a machete were the dominant homicide methods; ingestion of weevil tablets and other poisons, hanging and shooting with a firearm were the predominant suicide means. The results further show that femicide incidents overwhelmingly involved overkill, with the assailant using inordinately high levels of aggression against the victim. Male sexual jealousy, rage over the female partner's abrogation of the relationship, and interpersonal disputes of variable origin were the major precipitants. It is recommended that deterrent sentences should be used to teach wife assaulters and would-be assaulters that society does not tolerate assaultive behaviour within intimate relationships. More resources should be provided for women who are victims of domestic violence. This should include legal aid, financial resources and refuges for women in danger and their children. Measures should be taken to control the proliferation of firearms in society.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Annals of Criminology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • femicide
  • femicide-suicide
  • femicide-suicide
  • homicide-suicide
  • intimate partner homicide


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