Femicide in Northern Ireland during the Covid-19 lockdown: A model for differentiating male offender characteristics

Rea Johnston , John Synnott, Maria Ioannou, Sally-Ann Ashton

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Femicide, the lethal form of gender-based violence against women, is a global health crisis that transcends class and ethnicity. To date, there is no working model for differentiating male femicide offenders within Northern Ireland (NI); therefore, the current study aimed to do this, focusing on the timeframe of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. The research has drawn on newspaper articles reporting on the 11 NI femicides perpetrated over a period of 20 months. These crimes were content analysed for the presence or absence of 16 pre-identified offender variables. The data was analysed using a multi-dimensional scaling procedure called Smallest Space Analysis (SSA). Two distinct themes emerged: Chronic Criminal Abuser and Mentally Disturbed. The qualitative data obtained on offender characteristics aligned with the preliminary model for differentiation. Forensic implications pertinent to risk assessment and management are considered. It is argued that NI adopt an active violence against women and girls (VAWG) strategy to effectively tackle the issue of Femicide. Future research may consider a retrospective study of NI Femicide offenders to firmly establish the types of offenders committing femicide for targeted resource allocation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-67
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Issue number1
Early online date3 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

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