Hannah Larten
Hannah Larten

Surge in domestic homicide: Call for action

 The recent surge in domestic violence between partners leading to murder in our homes, towns, and villages is becoming a new normal crime. 


Hence, the urgent need for the stakeholders to intervene to curb the apparent rise in the menace.

The killing of intimate partners has gone from something that occurred behind closed doors with little public discussion to the creation of national headlines and high-level public attention.

This has become a matter of national concern as we are more often than not awakened to some tragic news report on this issue.  

Murder in relationships is now seen as a painkiller to relieve depression, hurts, and pains between partners.

But the unanswered question remains: why would one end a life s/he confessed love to and played all the tactics in a relationship with?

The increasing trend of the killing of partners is becoming intense.

Mostly, this insane behaviour is becoming widespread among people in the urban areas, especially, who see killing as a form of retaliation against their lovers for cheating, infidelity, and misunderstanding, among others.

According to a report by the Ghana Police Service, there have been over 120 reported cases of domestic violence in the first quarter of 2023 with over 65 per cent being women as victims.

Among the culprits, young men who have become very aggressive towards wives/girlfriends form the greater number.

The deliberate killing of a spouse by the other partner is what we term spousal killing and this act can have very devastating effects on the family of the victim, the community, and the nation as a whole.

The menace brings challenges and consequences on us such as social costs, economic implications, intergenerational impact, financial impact, and physical and emotional harm, among others, resulting in profound effects on individuals, families, and society as a whole.

The bizarre incident is that most perpetrators justify their actions against their victims on mere poor communication, which leads to misunderstandings, conflicts, and emotional distance between partners.

However, cheating can also lead to trust issues and lead to the breakdown of relationships.

It thus remains the highest cause of spousal killings in Ghana. 


Poverty, according to the report, is an underlying cause of cheating in relationships and can bring about aggressive behaviours.

Hence, both partners have different life goals, values, or priorities, which can lead to conflict and emotional distance, causing these kinds of violence.

To nib the menace in the bud, there is a need for the government and private entities to help improve support systems for victims, including accessible helplines, shelters, counselling services, and legal aid as well as ensure that victims receive appropriate help and protection when they seek assistance and promote education and public campaigns to increase awareness of the issue of domestic violence, its consequences, and available resources for victims.

Signs of domestic violence

It’s also incumbent on the government to train law enforcement officers, judiciary, healthcare professionals, and social service providers to recognise signs of domestic violence, respond appropriately, and provide the necessary resources and support.

Thus enact and enforce laws that criminalise and impose strict penalties for domestic violence and spousal killings as well as collaborate with the justice system to ensure prompt investigation, prosecution, and fair trials for offenders.


We need to promote gender equality and challenge societal attitudes that perpetuate power imbalances and encourage healthy communication, respect, and mutual support in relationships.

Hence, stakeholders must endeavour to offer comprehensive rehabilitation programmes for both victims and offenders, including counselling, support groups, anger management, and rehabilitation services tailored to address the root causes of violence would also be of great help in reducing spousal killings.

The writer is a student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, a constituent of the University of Media Arts and Communications (UNIMAC-GIJ).

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