Women who kill friends, acquaintances or strangers: a feminist exploratory study

Lynch, T 2015, Women who kill friends, acquaintances or strangers: a feminist exploratory study, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Women who kill friends, acquaintances or strangers: a feminist exploratory study
Author(s) Lynch, T
Year 2015
Abstract This study is an analysis of court transcripts of 14 murder cases concerning 18 women who were charged with either murder or manslaughter of a friend, acquaintance or stranger in Victoria, Australia, between 1995 and 2007. This research improves understanding of women’s lethal violence towards non-family and the lives that lead to this violence.

This study considers the nature of women’s killing of non-family. In particular, it examines the motivations of these 18 women who killed, their social and economic circumstances, the specific scenarios in which they killed, and the aftermath of the deaths. Six of the murders were unplanned and eight murders, involving 12 women, were planned.

Rather than understanding women’s violence as embedded in their victimisation, this research highlights their agency and argues that this must be taken into account in explaining their criminal offending. While some of these women could be considered disadvantaged with difficult life histories of economic vulnerability, mental ill health, drug and alcohol use, and sexual violence, there is also evidence among the group that there is diversity and some women were not so affected.

The findings support the work of other feminist researchers who have sought more nuanced understandings of women who kill. The research makes a contribution to theorising women’s violence by generating knowledge about the specific contexts in which women use lethal violence against friends, acquaintances or strangers.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global, Urban and Social Studies
Subjects Gender Specific Studies
Sociology not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) women's homicide
women and murder
women who kill non-family
women and violence
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Created: Fri, 10 Jul 2015, 12:14:43 EST by Keely Chapman
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