The Homicide Timeline

 New research from the University of Gloucestershire is helping police to predict the critical steps a killer takes from stalking, violence and coercive control to domestic homicide.

Published: 28/08/2019 12:20

​​​​​Resea​rch published this week and carried out by Dr Jane Monckton Smith looked at 372 cases of intimate partner homicide through interviews with bereaved families and public protection professionals. Through her study, published in the Violence Against Women Journal (VAW), Dr Jane Monckton Smith, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Gloucestershire, found an emerging pattern that could be broken down into eight separate stages (see attached infographic).

A recent UN study into homicide found fifty thousand women across the world were killed by their partners in 2017. The Homicide Timeline is already being used to help form domestic abuse strategies and policy, as well as supporting police and agencies as they make risk assessments in cases of coercive control, domestic violence and stalking. Contrary to a long held belief by police, practitioners and the public, violence is no longer considered the biggest predicator of homicide. Dr Jane Monckton Smith’s research found similarities in many cases in the early stages of a relationship, which may allow professionals more opportunities to intervene and save lives. The research highlights the shift in emphasis that is needed to focus motivation behind actions rather than the actions themselves. The model was designed to help practitioners and professionals engaged in risk assessments to feel confident about the decisions they are making, especially in crisis situations.

Dr Jane Monckton Smith has been training police and public protection professionals across the country, including The National Probation Service, Garda Síochána, Thames Valley and Kent Police, as well as the Women’s Institute, Kent and Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum and East Midlands Psychology Service.

University of Gloucestershire Senior Criminology Lecturer, Dr Jane Monckton Smith, said: 
“The domestic homicide timeline is a pioneering model which transforms the way we think about domestic homicide, coercive control and stalking and the risks in these situations. This is the first time these behaviours have been organised in this way. Police have been incredibly receptive, and recognise the steps in cases they are working on, because it speaks to their experience and makes an order out of the chaos that is domestic abuse, coercive control and stalking. This will fundamentally change the way we look at risk and has the potential to save lives, as intervention is possible at every single stage and victims can use this to understand their own position.” 

Find out more:

A video of Dr Jane Monckton Smith explaining the eight stages can be found here​.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse or violence, the following organisations may be able to help. 

​​​The National Domestic Violence Helpline - 0808 2000 247 

GALOP (formerly National Lesbian, Gay and Trans Domestic Abuse Helpline) – 0800 999 5428 

Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327  ​​