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Abstract

This study builds on the existing knowledge of risk factors for lethal intimate partner violence (IPV) and typologies of IPV abusers by exploring patterns of abusive partners' behaviors among known risk factors for intimate partner femicide (i.e., murder of women) and determines if groups of survivors with similar patterns of abusive behaviors exist. The common patterns are then examined for differences among Latina and non-Latina survivors. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with adult English- and Spanish-speaking survivors of past-year physical and/or sexual IPV using a validated risk assessment instrument, the Danger Assessment (DA) Questionnaire. Two-hundred nine IPV survivors participated, 55% Latina. Unique patterns of abusive behaviors perpetrated by an intimate partner or ex-partner across known risk factors for lethal violence were reported. The patterns clustered into five distinct groups: extreme abuser, physical and sexual violence/controlling abuser, forced sex/controlling abuser, threat/controlling abuser, and low-level tactics abuser. Latina and non-Latina survivors reported mean DA scores (13.0 vs. 18.5, respectively) that place them within the “increased danger” and “extreme danger” level, respectively, for lethal violence by an abusive partner. Although both groups were in extreme danger on average, the patterns of abusive behaviors differed. Latina women were more likely to characterize their partner as using forced sex to control the relationship, whereas non-Latina women were more likely to characterize the use of all types of abusive behaviors (i.e., extreme abuser) or threats to kill them (i.e., threat/controlling abuser) to control the relationship. The findings of this study can be used to develop effective individualized safety plans that include culturally and linguistically competent strategies to reduce violence-related morbidity and mortality. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.