Each year Arizona experiences approximately 100 domestic-violence-related deaths. Based on Arizona statutes, domestic violence generally applies to people living in the same house including relatives, spouses, domestic partners, and roommates. While most domestic violence situations do not result in death, researchers have extensively examined intimate relationships to determine which relationship patterns are more likely to result in lethal domestic violence. They have found multiple factors and common traits that are typically present in domestic violence related killings:
- There is a history of long-term abuse that includes physical violence, degrading remarks, attacks on self-worth of the victim, and excessive monitoring of the victims whereabouts and contact with the outside world. This is referred to as intimate partner terrorism.
- The attacker is excessively possessive.
- Use of drugs or alcohol
- The attacker is depressed or unemployed.
- The presence of a step-child, creating a situation where the attacker may become jealous of the victims previous relationship.
- The victim is abused during pregnancy.
- The age difference between the partners is more than 10 years.
- The victim is an undocumented immigrant that does not seek intervention because of their status.
In addition to those eight factors, immediately preceding a domestic violence killing abuse escalates. It becomes more aggressive, more frequent, and typically increases in severity. There is also usually a trigger event that causes the attacker to lash out in, what experts call, humiliated fury.