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Intimate Partners Cause One-Fifth of Violent Deaths

Most U.S. murder victims in 2003-2004 knew their killer

FRIDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. system for tracking violent deaths shows that most murder victims in 2003 and 2004 knew the suspected killer, and a major cause was conflict between lovers or spouses, according to a report in the July 7 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Mental illness and problems with intimate partners also fueled suicides.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the National Violent Death Reporting System in 2003 to better target anti-violence strategies. Overall, 49,639 U.S. residents died of violence in 2003, CDC researchers report.

Seven states took part in the program in 2003, and six more joined in 2004. The 13 states represented 23.4 percent of the U.S. population, 22.6 percent of murders and 23.4 percent of suicides in 2003.

Some 25.5 percent of 2004 murders with known causes happened during a felony-level crime, almost half (44.9 percent) involved robberies; 31.8 percent of murder victims knew their killers; one-fifth (20 percent) were murdered by an intimate partner.

"This report demonstrates that mental health disorders and intimate partner conflicts played the largest roles in suicide, whereas felony crimes and intimate partner violence played the largest role in homicide," the authors write.

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