10/10/2012 11:36 EDT | Updated 12/10/2012 05:12 EST

Domestic violence report calls for better firearms control

A new study on domestic homicide in New Brunswick is calling for better control of guns in known cases of domestic violence.

The Office of the Chief Coroner released a report on Wednesday, which was written by Carmen Gill, the director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research.

The report issued five broad recommendations.

The domestic homicide study looked at 32 domestic homicides in New Brunswick between 1999 and 2008. Of those deaths, 37.5 per cent of victims were shot by the perpetrator.

“[I]t is legitimate to recommend better control of firearms in known domestic violence situations in New Brunswick,” the report said.

While 37.5 per cent of the homicides involved guns, 25 per cent were a result of blunt force trauma and 12.5 per cent were drownings.

The report’s recommendations also detail several ways to better collect data in cases of domestic violence.

Gill’s report also said the provincial government should continue with its Domestic Violence Death Review Committee.

Gregory Forestell, the province’s chief coroner, said the specialized committee will continue to look at all cases involving domestic homicide.

“All data we can gather will help to inform future discussion on the root causes of domestic violence, and how we can prevent it in the future,” he said in a statement.

Statistical analysis

Of the 32 domestic homicide cases in the province, 24 were adult victims and eight were children, according to the report.

The domestic homicides were carried out by about 28 people. Of those, 14 perpetrators committed suicide after committing the homicide.

Every time a child was killed in a domestic homicide, the perpetrator committed suicide, the report said.

The number of domestic homicides per year ranges between one and five.

“Important finding, in this 10-year period, is the high number of suicides following homicide (14 perpetrators out of 28), and that women are the primary victims,” the report said.

The report said it is not possible to make any generalizations about the people who are involved in these domestic homicide cases because of the small number of cases that were studied.

But the report did offer a statistical breakdown of those involved in the deaths.

Half of the 32 victims of domestic homicide were between the ages of 30 and 49, while 16 of 28 perpetrators of domestic homicide were in the same age group.

At the time of death, 56 per cent of the cases involved spouses, common law spouses or ex-spouses.

The report found more than 50 per cent of perpetrators were unemployed, either on social assistance or disability pension when committing their crime.

And 15 of the perpetrators had a prior criminal record, 15 had a substance abuse problem at the time of the crime and 11 had a history of substance abuse.

Of the victims, 14 had a substance abuse problem at the time.

The motive of the crime was tracked in 17 cases. In four cases, the motive was a custody battle and the motive in another four cases was listed as a quarrel.