The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3074.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - Board 6

Abstract #46636

Prostitution-related homicide

Michele R. Decker, BA, School of Public Health, Maternal and Child Health, University of North Carolina, CB#7445, Rosenau Hall 401, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7445, 919-960-8496,, Kathryn E. (Beth) Moracco, PhD, MPH, Department of Maternal and Child Health, and Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB#7445, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7445, Carol Runyan, PhD, Injury Prevention Research Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Campus Box 7505, Chase Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7505, and John D. Butts, MD, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and Department of Pathology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB 7580, 1003 Brinkhous-Bullitt Building, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7580.

Objectives: To describe prostitution-related homicides; to determine if prostitution-related homicides differ from other non-domestic homicides. Methods: This project used data from both a retrospective review of medical examiner records and telephone interviews with law enforcement homicide investigators about all non-domestic female homicides of women ages 15 and older occurring in North Carolina in a three year period, 1991-1993. The sample included 29 prostitution-related homicides and 201 non-prostitution-related homicides. Results: Compared with non-domestic, non-prostitution-related female homicide victims, women killed in prostitution-related homicides were more likely to be under thirty-five years of age (86% of prostitution-related homicide victims vs. 54 % of non-prostitution-related victims), to be black (90% vs.45%), to have less than a high school education (62% vs. 40%), and to have a criminal record (96% vs. 23%). Medical examiners and/or law enforcement officers noted evidence of sexual assault in 72% of the prostitution-related homicides, compared with 43% of non-prostitution homicides. Prostitution-related homicides were less likely to have a perpetrator identified (59% vs. 84%) or arrested (52% vs. 76%) for the case compared with other non-domestic homicides. Conclusions: Prostitution-related homicides differ from other non-domestic homicides, and can be considered a distinct and marginalized group. Women involved with prostitution are more likely to be killed in the context of sexual assault, which indicates that they could be victimized specifically through prostitution-related activity. Effective outreach and support services through the education and criminal justice systems may be appropriate prevention strategies.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Homicide, Sex Workers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Women's Health: An View Across the Lifespan

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA