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Quantifying Homicide Injuries:: A Swedish Time Trend Study Using the Homicide Injury Scale
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine.
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine.
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 23, no 2
National Category
Forensic Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383632DOI: 10.1515/sjfs-2017-0005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-383632DiVA, id: diva2:1316742
Available from: 2019-05-20 Created: 2019-05-20 Last updated: 2019-09-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Homicide Injury Quantification: Measures of injury severity in homicide victims and associations with homicide characteristics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Homicide Injury Quantification: Measures of injury severity in homicide victims and associations with homicide characteristics
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
Homicide, Injury score, Injury quantification, Offender profiling
National Category
Forensic Science
Research subject
Forensic Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383637 (URN)978-91-513-0678-0 (ISBN)
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

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Tamsen, FredrikThiblin, Ingemar

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