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since June 19, 2001


FBI Statistics on Spousal Murder

[Update 2010 11 26: Name removed upon request *] wrote:

I once saw statistics cited as saying that most of spousal murders were committed by wives. (55% or so...)

Would anyone know about figures and sources for this affirmation ?

The stats I found show that in large urban counties 222 wives were suspected for 318 suspected husbands in 1988, then follows the usual path of lesser rates of inculpation, guilt verdicts, sentencing and parole or probation. (BJS 95)

Large Urban counties is fine but What about overall figure for United States or Canada?

* The name of the individual has been removed, although that does not imply that Fathers for Life has a legal obligation to do so.  The reason for complying with the request is that there is little purpose to be served by displaying the man's name if he is worried more about having his reputation damaged than about the loss of his rights and the reputations of all men.  He wrote:

....Even tough I have sympathy for the father's rights movement, I wish not be publicly associated in such a strong manner, especially so that I have a career of some public exposure and this could cause prejudice....

The following is from the FBI web site at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr95prs.htm


     ---The murder count for 1995 totaled 21,597, a total 7 percent lower than 1994 and 13 percent lower than 1991. The murder rate was 8 per 100,000 inhabitants.
     ---Based on supplemental data received, 77 percent of murder victims in 1995 were males, and 88 percent were persons 18 years or older. By race, 49 percent of victims were black and 48 percent were white.
     ---Data based on a total of 22,434 murder offenders showed that 91 percent of the assailants were males, and 85 percent were 18 years of age or older. Fifty-three percent of the offenders were black and 45 percent were white.
     ---Fifty-five percent of murder victims were slain by strangers or persons unknown. Among all female murder victims in 1995, 26 percent were slain by husbands or boyfriends, while 3 percent of the male victims were slain by wives or girlfriends.
     ---By circumstance, 28 percent of the murders resulted from arguments and 18 percent from felonious activities such as robbery, arson, etc.
     ---In approximately 7 out of every 10 murders reported during 1995, firearms were the weapons used.

The trouble with statistics presented as percent figures is that these figures by themselves appear to tell you something, but most likely tell you only what the presenter wants you to know.  In the case of the information in the fourth paragraph, anyone with just an average understanding of statistics (and 25%  of adults in North America are functionally illiterate, which leads you to believe that there are very few people who are truly qualified, able and willing to look critically at such statements) may get the impression that men are nine times more murderous toward their spouses than wives are toward theirs: 26% of female murder victims were slain by their husbands or boyfriend, and 3% of male victims were slain by their wives or girlfriends.  Divide 3 into 26 and presto, you have your factor of nine, right? Wrong!

It may well be that the FBI wants the average person to believe that, but that is not what the ratio of spousal murders is.  I think that BoJ statistics stated that the ratio is actually 41 men killed by wives and girlfriends for every 59 women killed by husbands and boyfriends.

There is another problem with these statistics.  A trick was used that is frequently employed by people who lie with statistics.  It very effectively misleads anyone into misinterpreting the information presented.  That is to quote a percent figure for one aspect of the data and then to leave the reader to jump to the conclusion that the corresponding group in the data set presents the remainder of the universe that the data set represents.  What does "77 percent of murder victims in 1995 were males" make you think?  It leads you to think that the other 23% of the victims were women, right?  That would be the wrong way of looking at things.  There are other victims who are neither men nor women, that is, children.  In this case, the information presented by the FBI leaves out the fact that, according to Child Protective Services, in 1995 there were 1,215 victims of child murder.  The real number of these victims is most likely more than twice that, but they too are without doubt victims that must be included in considering the problem of murder in the US.

It is at best misleading to quote percentages in the manner that the FBI did.  If percentages are used to identify any fraction of an overall population, then it is necessary to calculate the percentage of each fraction by the common denominator of a percentage of the overall population, if one wants to use percentages. Considering that the people at the FBI who published the figure in the manner they did know more about statistics than the average person, it must be assumed that the misleading percentage figures were shown deliberately.

Here are tables that reflect absolute numbers and percentages relating to items mentioned by the FBI in the above list. (The figures that I calculated from the information provided by the FBI are shown on gray background in the table.)  

Murders in the US in 1995



of total 

Total Murders   21,597 100 
   Men   16,630 77 
   Women   3,752 17.4 
   Children (Source: CPS)   1,215 5.6 
Men murdered by girlfriends/wives   3% of 16,630 499 2.31
Women murdered by boyfriends/husbands   26% of 3,752 976 4.52

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report for 1995
Discussion of data


Murders in the US in 1996

of total 
Total Murders   19,645 100 
   Men   15,848 80.7 
   Women   2,711 13.8 
(Child Fatality Fact Sheet)
  1,077 5.5 
Men murdered by girlfriends/wives   3% of 15,848 475 2.4 
Women murdered by boyfriends/husband   30% of 2,711 813 4.1 

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report for 1996
Discussion of data

If you now calculate the percentages for the sexes in spousal murders as a percentage of all spousal murders, you'll come up with the following:

According to the FBI, in 1995 spousal murder victims were comprised of 33.8% men and 66.2% women.

That is a far cry from a factor of nine, but it still leaves open to question why the figures quoted by the FBI are so vastly different from those quoted by the Bureau of Justice.  The latter stated that the ratio is 41:59.

Whatever the figures may be, it is very important to remember that women are far more likely to be cleared of murder charges than men are.  In such cases, even though the men are quite dead and were according to common sense murdered, their deaths are not included in the murder statistics.  That points out one of the major flaws in the compilations of such statistics.  These statistics are based on convictions.  That would be perfectly all right in a justice system which treats all people equal and just, a system that is perfect even in detecting and prosecuting all crimes, but that isn't the system we have.

There is another flaw in these murder statistics.  It involves another category of victims.  Many child murders go undetected, unreported and unprosecuted, or are, in the best interest of women and social services, not prosecuted as murders.  These will not make it into the reported total of murders either.  The lives of children, especially when they were taken by women, are not considered of much value in our society.

I would appreciate it if anyone who has figures for Canada, like those shown on the FBI web site, would pass them on to me.  It would even be better, considering that this is an issue of international concern, if all such information could be compiled in a common table.

One last question remains.  Why did the FBI not quote the figures of 34% and 66% of all spousal murders (even if those may be still wrong)?  You don't need to answer that.  It is very likely because they don't look horrible enough.  3% of male victims versus 26% of female victims leaves far more of an impact, doesn't it?

There is one thing that should bother all of us.  The number of spousal murders is quite insignificant in relation to other causes of death, especially in relation to other causes of violent death.  Look at the disparity between all men and all women murdered.  Why are we barking up the tree of spousal murder?  Is it because the radical feminists have made that tree their home?  All of the gender-war hype is driven by no more than a difference of about 338 victims between the sexes, victims that resulted from spousal murder.  That proves it to me: 338 women who were murdered in spousal violence are worth a heck of a lot more than  12,878 male murder victims.  How does that come about?  How can the whole Western World be so intent on persecuting all men for the aberrations of 477 men who murdered their spouses?  How could we ever let this happen?

If we wanted to establish victimhood for one sex, then it should be men who deserve that status.  They never wanted it, so the feminists claimed it on behalf of all women and are making the best of it, to the detriment of men, half of humanity.  But if we want to be honest and quit with all of this number manipulation to make points for one sex or the other, we'll find that in spousal murder, just as in all other types of interspousal violence, women will most likely be as violent as men are.  If we must count murder cases, then let's count the dead, and not the convictions -- at least not for as long as women as victims are more valuable than any number of men who were murdered.

All the best,


PS. (2001 12 14) See also The troubles with DV murder statistics

Some messages that were follow-ups to the discussion

Subject:      Re: [MENTION] spousal murder -- an additional note
Date:         Thu, 25 Jun 1998 19:43:26 GMT
From:        dmnevers@megsinet.net (Dave Nevers)

On Wed, 24 Jun 1998 11:45:55 -0700, in owner-mention@vicnet.net.au, Walter Schneider < > wrote:

As to the UCR, I didn't mean to imply that it is a good source of information -- it isn't.  It does reflect the crimes reported to police and those that police know about.  Theoretically, it should include all data on convictions that occurred in the year that the report covers.  However, the FBI cautions that the numbers produced by them and by the Bureau of Justice Statistics aren't necessarily compatible because of the different methodologies applied in the collection of the two sets of data.  That's just a short paragraph in a report that is close to 500 pages long!  Nowhere do they appear to explain what the differences in methodologies are.  That leaves only one possible conclusion.  Their figures are most likely as wrong as anyone else's.

Another good example (albeit a personal one) of how DV statistics get distorted, is when a batterer plea bargains, or when the police refuse to let the victim file a report.

My ex was arrested under the IL Domestic Violence Act, and charged with domestic battery.  She plea-bargained down to simple battery.  In other words, the husband-wife relationship in the crime was statistically 'lost.'  It was cataloged as if it were a street crime between strangers.

On two other occasions, one where I had second-degree burns, the other where I had a broken nose, the police simply refused to allow me to file charges.  They based their decision on the statements made by my [then] wife.

One other, early incident went unreported.  I was simply too ashamed to report what really happened.  I told them I fell backwards into the storm door, and that caused the glass to shatter and cut me (in truth, she kicked me in the groin).

I'm not saying my case was in any way representative of any larger society, but of my four ER visits, not ONE appeared statistically as DV.

Dave Nevers

And another message from Dave Nevers went like this:

Subject:  Re: [MENTION] spousal murder -- an additional note
Date:      Thu, 25 Jun 1998 19:15:54 GMT
From:     dmnevers@megsinet.net (Dave Nevers)

On Thu, 25 Jun 1998 01:19:13 EDT, in owner-mention@vicnet.net.au, JLaigle@aol.com wrote:

Probably true. But what most people ignore in this debate is the rate of child abuse, and this is where men really shine. I have read stats acc to which 2/3 of child abuses are caused by moms (tho am unsure of source). Here in PA, for ex, the Dept of Welfare reported in "Child Abuse Report 96" that 1714 physically injuries to children were attributed to moms vs only 1193 for dads (I would like to see more such stats from other states and countries). In a newsgroup a feminist sympathizer mentioned that this was because moms spend more time with kids and that if a study were done breaking this down acc to hours spent, men would be found more abusive.
IMO this isn't relevant bec no matter how you look at it, the reflexive habit of awarding custody to moms IS causing increased child abuse, for whatever reason. Further, no one ever excuses men for the elevated violence rate due to them, even tho there are, as pointed out by W. Farrell, many reasons why men are led to cause more violent crime, incl the greater expectations on them to produce economically.

Ah, yes, the 'opportunity' excuse.  Mothers have more time with their children, so they have more 'opportunity' to commit abuse.

Let's follow that line of reasoning to the population as a whole. That would mean that most bank robbers would actually be bank tellers, since they have the greatest 'opportunity' to rob banks.

Same for shoplifters.  Most of them would have to be retail store clerks, since they have the greatest 'opportunity' to shoplift.

Neither example makes sense, yet the 'mother-opportunity' excuse seems to pass through unchallenged.

It's absurd, of course.  The reason most tellers aren't bank robbers, and most shoplifters aren't store clerks is that the people who hold those jobs accept the responsibility for NOT doing those things.  They follow the rules, they accept the personal responsibility for their actions.

THAT is where the difference lies.  Women who abuse children are allowed to dismiss their abuse as the inevitable result of greater opportunity.  The thought that they should simply not hurt children is nowhere to be found.

Dave Nevers

See also:

  • DVStats.org a search engine, aggregating research that examines the impact and extent of domestic violence upon male victims. (Off-site)

    This search facility equates domestic violence to intimate partner violence between men and women in relationships.  It does not provide information on violence between homosexuals, siblings or violence against family members other than heterosexual partners and spouses, such as infanticide, child abuse or violence against elderly in families.

Last updated:
1999 11 05 (to incorporate child murder statistics into "Murders in the US in 1995")
2001 01 31 (format changes)
2001 12 14 (added link to The troubles with DV murder statistics)