Shattered Voices: Daughters’ Meaning Reconstruction in Loss of a Mother to Intimate Partner Homicide

Shani Pitcho-Prelorentzos, Elazar Leshem, Michal Mahat-Shamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Intimate partner homicide is a major public health concern around the world and the most lethal outcome of domestic violence. Its impact on the surviving bereaved offspring is immense, yet there is a significant gap in the literature regarding the long-term effects of this type of loss. The current qualitative study is aimed at filling this gap. The study used the constructivist paradigm of bereavement as a theoretical background to reveal the meanings constructed by bereaved Israeli daughters whose biological mothers were killed in acts of intimate partner homicide by their biological fathers. Three main themes of meaning emerged from 12 in-depth semi-structured interviews: “destruction of one’s home”; “blast injury”; and “in doubt”. An examination of the three themes in the current study reveals a deep shatter in participants’ world of meaning to its very basic foundations. In light of intense psychological and social forces, the participants constructed and reconstructed such narratives of meaning in a continuous process of meaning making throughout their lives, years, and decades post loss. Derived from the findings are implications for practice. Mental healthcare professionals must attend to this basic shatter with an extreme level of caution, as they help homicide survivors reconstruct a world of meaning shattered by loss. Moreover, the long-lasting effects emphasize an appropriate legal and political involvement; specifically, policy regulations and rights should provide psychosocial care programs that are suited to the needs of offspring co-victims of intimate partner homicide in particular. In light of the strong social influence on participants’ loss experience, further efforts are required to raise social awareness about this burning social concern and to fight the stigmatization of co-victims of homicide in general and co-victims of intimate partner homicide in particular.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Bereavement
  • intimate partner homicide
  • meaning making in loss
  • offspring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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