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Homicide Injury Quantification: Measures of injury severity in homicide victims and associations with homicide characteristics
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Some previous studies have found that the amount and severity of injuries in homicide victims correlate with different homicide characteristics, such as the victim-offender relationship and drug influence of the offender. If such relationships exist, they may be used by homicide investigators as part of an offender profiling.

Furthermore, injury severity may be helpful in understanding the nature of lethal violence. If the injuries change over time or differ between regions, this may say something about the underlying causes and thus help society to take preventive measures. However, measures of injury severity are often missing in homicide epidemiology. This may in part be due to a lack of standardized and accessible ways to quantify injuries in homicide victim.

To address these issues, there is a need for methods to quantify injury severity in homicide victims. The aim of the current thesis was to investigate different types of injury measures and their applicability to homicide victims. The aim was also to use such measures to address research questions related to offender profiling.

Starting off with injury scores used in trauma research and two scores developed specifically for homicide victims, these measures were applied to a general homicide population. Since there is no obvious “gold standard” for injury severity quantification on homicide victims, one had to be defined to validate the applied methods. Out of forensic experience and rational reasoning, the Sum of all AIS scores (SAIS) was proposed as a reference measure. The other scores were then evaluated through their correlations with the SAIS.

In the following study, the injury severity in homicides from different time periods was measured. There were statistically significant increases over time with respect to excessive injuries and the number of lethal injuries per victim. These changes can reflect both a brutalization of homicidal violence, improved trauma care, or shifts in the methods by which people are killed.

Next, the associations between injury severity and homicide characteristics were analysed. No relevant associations between injury severity and victim-offender relationship were found. Neither were there any connections between benzodiazepine influence in the offender and injury severity on the victim. Thus, the studies do not support the use of injury severity scores for offender profiling in a general homicide population.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2019. , p. 40
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1578
Keywords [en]
Homicide, Injury score, Injury quantification, Offender profiling
National Category
Forensic Science
Research subject
Forensic Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383637ISBN: 978-91-513-0678-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-383637DiVA, id: diva2:1316769
Public defence
2019-08-30, Fåhraeussalen, Rudbecklaboratoriet, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 20, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-06-03 Created: 2019-05-21 Last updated: 2019-08-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Homicide Injury Quantification: Correlations and Reliability of Injury Severity Scores Applied to Homicide Victims
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Homicide Injury Quantification: Correlations and Reliability of Injury Severity Scores Applied to Homicide Victims
2015 (English)In: Homicide Studies, ISSN 1088-7679, E-ISSN 1552-6720, Vol. 19, no 1, p. 88-100Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

No generally accepted method exists for quantifying the degree of injury in homicide victims. This study explores six different injury severity scores with the goal to recommend a valid method that is reliable and easy to use. To investigate this issue, 103 homicides are examined regarding the correlations between these scores. This study concludes that the Homicide Injury Scale is valid, easy to use, and has a satisfactory inter-rater reliability.

Keywords
homicide, lethal violence, injury severity score, quantification
National Category
Forensic Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-243424 (URN)10.1177/1088767914558142 (DOI)000346910300005 ()
Available from: 2015-02-17 Created: 2015-02-09 Last updated: 2019-05-21Bibliographically approved
2. Quantifying Homicide Injuries:: A Swedish Time Trend Study Using the Homicide Injury Scale
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Quantifying Homicide Injuries:: A Swedish Time Trend Study Using the Homicide Injury Scale
2017 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Science, ISSN 2353-0707, Vol. 23, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies report that the homicide rate has decreased considerably in most Western countries since the 1990s. However, few studies have examined the level of injury in homicides. The injury severity in homicide victims was studied in the Stockholm area using both the Homicide Injury Scale (HIS) and the number of lethal injuries per victim. Cases were included from four periods; 1976-78, 1986- 88, 1996-98, and 2006-08. The number of homicides with overkill according to the HIS was significantly higher in 1996-98 compared to 1976-78. Compared with 1976-78, the number of lethal injuries per victim was significantly higher both in 1986-88 and 1996-98. There are various possible reasons for the changes, including a brutalization of lethal violence or a more effective trauma care. More in-depth analysis of individual cases together with research on victims of attempted homicides is needed to explain these shifts in injury severity.

National Category
Forensic Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383632 (URN)10.1515/sjfs-2017-0005 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-05-20 Created: 2019-05-20 Last updated: 2019-09-03Bibliographically approved
3. Homicide injury severity in association with the victim-offender relationship
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Homicide injury severity in association with the victim-offender relationship
2019 (English)In: Forensic Science International, ISSN 0379-0738, E-ISSN 1872-6283, Vol. 300, p. 151-156Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There are previous studies that have found associations between specific injury patterns and different victim-offender relationships (VORs) in homicides. We have used quantitative injury severity scores to further investigate this issue. The amount and severity of injuries were assessed in 178 Swedish homicide victims, retrospectively included from the years 2007-2009. We analyzed whether different injury measures could be used to predict the VOR. In addition to a deeper understanding of violent behavior, such associations may be of help to homicide investigators for offender profiling. The victims' injuries were assessed with eleven different methods. The cases with known VORs were divided into four categories: partner, relative, acquaintance, and stranger. The injury seventies were then compared between these categories. No relevant differences were found. Thus, the current study does not support the claim that the VOR can be predicted from the injury severity in a general homicide population. These findings are in contrast to the results of some previous studies but confirm those of others.

Keywords
Homicide, Injury score, Injury quantification, Offender profiling
National Category
Forensic Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383634 (URN)10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.05.012 (DOI)000470903500030 ()
Available from: 2019-05-20 Created: 2019-05-20 Last updated: 2019-07-05Bibliographically approved
4. Homicide injury severity in association with benzodiazepine influence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Homicide injury severity in association with benzodiazepine influence
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Forensic Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383635 (URN)
Note

Submitted to Homicide Studies

Available from: 2019-05-20 Created: 2019-05-20 Last updated: 2019-05-21

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