Securing women's lives: Preventing intimate partner homicide

Investigators: Professor Jude McCulloch, Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Professor JaneMaree Maher, Professor Sandra Walklate
Project contacts: Professor Jude McCulloch and Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon
Project details: ARC project page

About the project

In mid 2017 we commenced the Australian Research Council funded project Securing women's lives: Preventing intimate partner homicide. Across the world, on average 137 women are killed by an intimate partner or family member every day. On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner in Australia. The project aims to better understand potential points of intervention prior to women being killed, and to use this knowledge to prevent future such homicides. The project also highlights and critiques the policy dichotomy in approaches to public terrorism and the ‘private terrorism’ of intimate partner violence. We are reviewing decade of intimate partner homicides (2007-2016) where the offender was male, focusing on circumstances of the killing, interactions of victim/survivors with services, criminal justice agencies and any information neighbours, friends and family may have had about threats or violence. We have collected information on more than two-hundred and fifty cases from around Australia and are in the process of analysing this data. Findings will be made available in scholarly and more accessible formats to better inform policy and practice. There are plans to make the data base available as a resource for researchers and policy makers in the future.

There are a number of articles, books, opinion pieces, journalism, submissions and events linked to the project:


Towards a Global Femicide Index: Counting the Costs (2020) Walklate, S., Fitz-Gibbon, K., McCulloch, J. & Maher, JM. London: Routledge.

Intimate Partner Violence, Risk and Security: Securing Women’s Lives in a Global World (2018) (eds). Fitz-Gibbon, K., Walklate, S., McCulloch, J. & Maher, JM. Routledge.

Bartlett, T., Fitz-Gibbon, K. and Walklate, S. (2022) Human Rights Law and Domestic Violence: The Australian Context. In P. Gerber (eds.) Contemporary Perspectives on Human Rights Law in Australia, vol 2, Chapter 9, pp. 219-240.


Walklate, S. & Fitz-Gibbon, K. (2022) Re-imagining the measurement of femicide: from ‘thin’ counts to ‘thick’ counts. Current Sociology,

Walklate, S., McCulloch, J., Maher, JM. & Fitz-Gibbon, K. (2019) Criminology, gender and security in the Australian context: Making women’s lives matter, Theoretical Criminology 23,1 60-77.

McCulloch, J., Walklate, S., Maher, JM., Fitz-Gibbon, K. & McGowan, J. (2019) ‘Lone wolf terrorism through a gendered lens: Men turning violent or violent men behaving violently?’Critical Criminology, 27(3): 437-450.


October 2020, Podcast with UNODC
Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon spoke with Wendy O’Brien of the Education for Justice initiative, UNODC, for a podcast on 'Counting the global scale of intimate femicide'. Associate Professor Fitz-Gibbon spoke about the importance of comprehensively counting femicide, as part of a broader strategy to end violence against women and girls. Access the podcast here.


The intimate connection between mass shootings and violence against women (2020) Policy Options McCulloch, J. & Maher, JM.

The link between lone attacks and violence against women hides in plain sight (2019) ABC Opinion McCulloch, J., Maher, JM., Fitz-Gibbon, K., Walklate, S. & McGowan, J.

Counting the cost of intimate partner homicides in Australia (2019) Monash Lens, McCulloch, J., Fitz-Gibbon, K., Maher, JM. & Walklate, S.

We won’t stop lone-actor attacks until we understand violence against women (2018) The Conversation McCulloch, J., Maher, JM., Fitz-Gibbon, K. & Walklate, S.

Lone attackers and Violence Against Women (2018) Policy Options McCulloch, J., Maher, JM., Fitz-Gibbon, K. & Walklate, S.

Finally, police are taking family violence as seriously as terrorism, (2017) The Conversation, McCulloch, J., Maher, JM., Fitzgibbon, K. & Walklate, S.

The leading threat to women's safety and wellbeing (2018) Monash Lens, Fitz-Gibbon, K. & Maher, JM.

Tackling intimate partner homicide (2017) Monash Lens, McCulloch, J., Maher, JM. & Fitz-Gibbon, K.


Terrorism is rare but intimate partner violence is an everyday event (2019) The Age Gilmore, J


United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner: Call for Femicide Related Data and Information(2018) McCulloch, J., Fitz-Gibbon, K., Maher, J.M. and Walklate, S.


National Roundtable on Femicide Data Collection
Melbourne, Australia - August 2019

The Centre held a national roundtable on femicide data collection in August 2019. The roundtable was part of the Australian Research Council Discovery Grant. It brought together experts, practitioners and academics from around Australia including judicial officers, death review personnel, journalists, Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety, a Churchill Fellow researching death review processes internationally and academics researching intimate femicide and violence against women. Issues discuss included, femicide counts, access to data and the risks and opportunities of a live national count of femicides. An Age newspaper article arising out of the roundtable covers some of these issue.

International Roundtable Workshop on Securing women’s lives: Preventing intimate partner homicide
Monash Prato, Italy - September 2017

This roundtable brought together scholars from across four continents to reflect on constructions of risk and understandings of security in responses to intimate partner violence. The roundtable formed to challenge the status quo understandings of risk and question how we can redefine and relocate the risk of intimate partner violence, and particularly the risk of intimate partner homicide, as a critical site of national security and safety. Attendees presented research from pre-drafted chapters. The workshop resulted an edited collection which challenges the separation of the private terrorism of everyday life routinely experienced by women across the globe from public violence. The collection questions how risk can be reconstructed and operationalised to better ensure the safety and security of women.