Femicide – the killing of women because they are women – is a leading cause of premature death for women, yet there is limited research on this issue.

The Femicide Census Report is published

‘I know she’s leaving me. If I can’t have her, no-one else can.’

The national domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid, in partnership with Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive of nia, today releases key findings from The Femicide Census Report: a ground-breaking project which for the first time allows detailed tracking and analysis of fatal male violence against women. The census aims to provide a clearer picture of men’s fatal violence against women, committed by partners, ex-partners, male relatives, acquaintances, colleagues and strangers. The Femicide Census was built with support from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Deloitte LLP.

The Femicide Census Report has found that: 

  • Between 2009 and 2015, 936 women have been killed by men.
  • 598 (64%) were killed by their current or former partners; 75 (8%) women were killed by their sons.
  • Most women who are killed are killed by a man known to them. 598 women were killed by men identified as current or former partners.
  • Women are at significant risk at the point of separation from an abusive partner. 76% of women killed by their ex-partner or ex-spouse were killed within the first year that followed their separation.

The partnership is calling on the government to urgently undertake key actions, including:

  • Ensuring specialist domestic abuse and sexual violence services have sustainable, long term funding and that funding is available for specialist projects for women to exit prostitution.
  • Recognising that post-separation is a significantly heightened risk period for women leaving abusive relationships.

Femicide – the killing of women because they are women – is a leading cause of premature death for women, yet there is limited research on this issue. The Global Study on Homicide in 2011 indicated that whilst there had been a decrease in the number of homicides worldwide, there had been an increase in the number of femicides[1].  A recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (SRVAW) noted that the UN and its Member States have repeatedly concluded that the comparability and availability of data is key to defining and understanding femicide, and its manifestations, causes and consequences. The SRVAW described the Femicide Census as an example of good practice in data collection.

The Femicide Census has been developed out of an urgent need to address the reality of fatal male violence against women. It can play a key part in the identification of patterns of femicide, the circumstances leading up to the femicide, and ultimately help us reduce femicide.

Read the full Femicide Census Report here 

Learn more about femicide

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“The killing of women – especially when women are killed by an abusive partner or ex-partner – is often reported as an isolated incident. There is an abject failure to look at patterns of behaviour. We accept fatal male violence as an inevitability: not a conscious choice that a man has made to end a woman’s life. This dangerous culture needs to change. We need to learn the lessons. And by viewing these cases of femicide all together, we can learn.

“Our initial analysis shows that these killings are not isolated incidents; too many of them followed a similar pattern of violence, and were premeditated. Many were committed in similar settings, similar weapons were used, and similar relationships existed between the perpetrators and victims. By highlighting the trends in cases of femicide, we can do more to reduce the killing of women by men.  The recommendations made by the Census – to government, media, police, and others – must be implemented as a matter of urgency.”

Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive of nia, said:

“I started counting dead women back in January 2012.  In the first three days of the year, eight women were killed at men’s hands: three shot, two stabbed, two beaten and strangled – and one women killed by her own grandson, inflicting 15 blunt force trauma injuries.  I made a note of their names, just to help me count, and then once I’d started, it didn’t seem right to stop.  When can you say that the next woman doesn’t count?  Looking at official statistics, it was overwhelmingly clear that we were not naming man’s fatal violence against women and we were not counting its full extent. The Femicide Census reveals the bigger picture, and we can see clear patterns and links across the spectrum of men’s violence against women. The Femicide Census has the potential to be an important tool for us to reduce and help prevent the killings of women. It will help us challenge a culture that often writes women out of their own deaths, reduces their lives to nothing more than a grim statistic, hides men’s violence and creates a hierarchy of victims.”

Avril Martindale from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP said:

“We are very proud to have a played a role in this effort to reduce femicide in England and Wales. We call for more organisations in the private sector to support efforts to reduce violence against women – something that should shame us all. It is a privilege to have been part of The Femicide Census and we urge all who read it to take its findings extremely seriously.”

Barry Allan from Deloitte LLP said:

“Fatal male violence against women is not an issue that should be left to the public and third sector to deal with; it affects us all. Therefore we must all play our part in helping to reduce it. Deloitte are very proud to have provided the database for The Femicide Census. It is vital that we can use our cutting-edge technology to help tackle violence against women. It is real progress.”

© 2022 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

Terms & conditionsPrivacy & cookie policyProtect yourself onlineMedia │ Jobs │ Accessibility Guide

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?