Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Doctor of Philosophy




Jaffe, Peter G.


This integrated dissertation comprises of three studies exploring severe and/or lethal domestic violence among male immigrant perpetrators. The first study analyzed the differences between immigrant and Canadian-born perpetrators of domestic homicide using a sample of 186 cases of domestic homicide that occurred from 2002-2016 in Ontario; 93 perpetrators that were Canadian-born and 93 immigrant perpetrators. Results revealed sociodemographic differences between groups, such as immigrant perpetrators’ increased likelihood to reside in large urban areas, have children, and have a higher level of education.

Criminogenic differences were also identified between groups, with immigrant perpetrators less likely to have probation, parole, and bail violations, and significantly fewer non-domestic violence arrests. Risk factors also differed between groups, with immigrant perpetrators less likely to be in a common-law relationship and have access or possession of firearms and significantly more likely to have sexual jealousy, misogynistic attitudes, and other mental health/psychiatric problems as identified risk factors.

Expanding on the first study, the second study exclusively explored the profiles of immigrant perpetrators of domestic homicide through the context of immigration and other related factors. Results revealed different profiles for immigrant newcomers and immigrant perpetrators who have experienced pre-migration trauma. The third study examined the perspectives of service providers who work with immigrant perpetrators. The sample included 10 key informants who primarily work with immigrant perpetrators in corrections. Using qualitative analysis, challenges and barriers for service providers, unique risk factors for domestic homicide, and promising practices when working with immigrant perpetrators were examined. Service providers identified many individual and systemic barriers and challenges such as language, perpetrators’ reticence to engage with service providers, and government/immigration policies, unique risk factors such as acculturation difficulties and immigrant status, and promising practices such as workplace diversity and cross-sector collaboration.

Overall, these findings highlight the differences between Canadian and immigrant perpetrators of domestic homicide, the heterogeneity and distinct differences among immigrant perpetrators, and the continued challenges and barriers service providers encounter when working with immigrant perpetrators. Further research examining the role of immigration is needed to aid in the development of specialized screening and risk assessment tools. Examining the importance of utilizing different approaches towards mainstream risk assessment and risk management strategies is also needed. Finally, ongoing awareness and training for service providers who regularly work with immigrants and the importance of diverse workplace environments is a critical component in supporting immigrant families experiencing domestic violence.

Summary for Lay Audience

Domestic violence is a gendered global phenomenon that extends across all ages, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds and in extreme cases may result in a domestic homicide. Domestic violence death review committees (DVDRCs) consist of a team of cross-sectoral experts in the field of domestic violence who identify risk factors, history of system involvement, and missed opportunities for intervention. There has been growing interest in exploring vulnerable populations who are increased risk for domestic homicide such as immigrants. However, there is a significant gap on immigrant perpetrators of domestic homicide and that a more nuanced understanding can aid in prevention and intervention initiatives.

The first paper (Chapter Two) examined the differences between immigrant and Canadian-born perpetrators of domestic homicide. Results indicated differences with regards to their criminogenic profiles and sociodemographic characteristics. Furthermore, there were some risk factors that were more prevalent among immigrant perpetrators.

The second paper (Chapter Three) expands on the previous paper by examining immigrant perpetrators of domestic homicide and the potential role of immigrant-specific factors such as pre-migration trauma and post-migration stress. Results indicated that perpetrators with a history of pre-migration trauma were at an increased risk for domestic homicide while post-migration stress increased the risk for domestic homicide among newcomers.

The third paper (Chapter Four) is a qualitative study that examined the challenges for service providers who work with immigrant perpetrators of domestic violence, risk factors that may increase the risk for severe and/or lethal violence, and promising practices. Results indicated that service providers have challenges working with perpetrators due to language barriers, personal difficulties challenging resistant perpetrators, organizational challenges in providing sufficient assessments and interventions, and policy barriers. Immigrant status and social isolation were two risk factors identified by service providers that increase the risk for severe and/or lethal violence. Diversity in the workplace and cross-sector collaboration were identified as promising practices in engaging and supporting immigrant perpetrators.

Overall, this paper highlights the need for specialized risk assessment tools, increased training and awareness regarding the role of pre-migration trauma and post-migration stress in relationship to domestic violence, and the need for cross-sector collaboration.