The deadly eight-stage pattern domestic abusers follow

Domestic abuse is often mentioned in media headlines and campaigns as a serious issue.

However, many people, mostly women, are still suffering in silence. This criminology expert has examined a certain behavioral pattern in domestic abusers.

After studying 372 deadly UK domestic violence cases, Dr. Jane Monckton Smith released an eight-stage behavior pattern that domestic abusers typically follow, before eventually killing their partners. Her “homicide timeline” has been published by charity Violence Against Women.

Unfortunately, most of these abusive relationships often result in violence and even murder. In fact, the criminology expert claims that these homicides require a certain degree of planning. Oftentimes when other forms of control have failed, the abuser decides to ruthlessly murder their victim.

Here are the 8 stages of deadly domestic abuse, according to Dr. Jane Monckton Smith.

1. History of abuse

Pre-relationship history of abuse is one of the most common stages in these homicides. As per Dr. Smith, this suggests that there is often a belief that domestic abuse is a ‘couple’ problem.

2. Early relationship

Most of the domestic violence abuse cases the expert studied included a speed romance that quickly turned into a serious commitment. Usually, the victim becomes codependent to the abuser at the very beginning of their relationship.

3. Intimidating control

Dr. Smith found controlling patterns in every case study. These patterns included stalking, paranoia that the woman was being unfaithful, limiting her liberty, financial control, and sometimes physical punishing. She shares with BBC:

“If you start looking at all these cases, there’s planning, determination, there’s always coercive control.”

4. Trigger/s

Once the relationship becomes increasingly controlling, the abusers use triggers to threaten their victims. For instance, the perpetrator can say and demand things like: “If I can’t have you, no one can!” or “I will decide when this marriage is over!”

5. Escalation

Escalation is usually an increase in regularity, severity, or diversity of abuse, control, or stalking. This stage could even result in the abuser threatening to kill themselves.

6. Change of tactics

This is the stage where the abusers consider getting revenge or murdering their partner for the first time. Dr. Smith writes:

“Not all consideration of homicide will end in homicide, but it is an escalation in risk to the victim.”

7. Planning

In most cases, planning is found after the homicides. The expert says it appears in the form of Internet searches on specific methods to kill, written plans, attempts to get the victim alone, purchasing weapons and plans to conceal a body.

8. Homicide

After formulating their plan, the abusers will often reach extreme levels of violence. In their attempts to kill their victim, they can also harm other people and commit suicide.

Dr. Smith believes that her study will help the police keep track of potential perpetrators. Her eighth-stage process can also help victims struggling to explain their controlling relationships with professionals.