“Home isn’t always a place of safety”: The Femicide Census Report 2016 is published


Sunday 10th December 2017


Today’s Femicide Census report reveals that 113 women were killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2016.

Nine in ten women killed during 2016 were killed by someone they knew, 78 women were killed by their current or former intimate partner and 65 of which were killed at their own home or the home they shared with the perpetrator, data from the latest Femicide Census report can reveal.

By collating femicides, we can see that these killings are not isolated incidents; too many of them follow a repeated pattern. Many were committed in similar locations, a sharp instrument was used as a weapon in 47 cases, and the majority of women killed by men were killed by a current or former intimate partner – although men’s fatal violence against women does extend beyond violence in intimate partner relationships. By viewing these cases of femicide together, we can learn what needs to be done to reduce, and ultimately prevent, the killing of women by men.


The Femicide Census found that between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2016:

  • 113 women were killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Nine in ten (88%, 100) of women killed by men were killed by someone they knew, 9 women were killed by a stranger
  • Three quarters (75%, 85) of all women killed by men were killed at their home
  • Over two thirds (69%, 78) of women killed by men were killed by a current or former intimate partner. 83% (65) of women killed by a current or former intimate partner were killed at their own home or the home they shared with the perpetrator.
  • 23 women killed by men were killed by either a stranger or someone they knew who wasn’t an intimate partner or male family member. Over half of these women (12) were killed at their own homes by either a neighbour, acquaintance, stranger or by the (ex-) partner of their daughter
  • Over three quarters (77%, 24) of women killed by a former intimate partner were killed within the first year of separation.
  • In 47 cases, perpetrators used a sharp instrument to kill the victim


Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive of nia, said:

“When we look at crime statistics, whether in relation to sexual violence, child sex abuse, prostitution or domestic violence and abuse, too often the disparity in the sexes of the victim and perpetrator is not made clear. This prevents us from being able to see the full extent and reach of men’s violence against women and girls. The Femicide Census is a very significant exception to this.

“Men are killing women and girls; most often women and girls that they are related to. Nine out of ten women killed by men in the census were killed by someone they knew. Over three quarters by a current or former partner. Every woman killed was important. But when we think about women killed by men, it’s important that we don’t forget about women who were killed by a man who wasn’t a partner; in 2016 they included a 30-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted and killed as she walked to work, a 20-year-old woman who suffered 60 separate injuries as she was raped and murdered by a delusional sexual predator who had promised to help her get home safely and an 81-year-old woman who was battered on the head and set alight by an intruder in her home. Men’s fatal violence against women extends beyond their partners and families.

“By breaking the barriers through which we contextualise violent crime, we’re able to build a different picture, a broader picture, about what causes and influences violence – violence that is largely perpetrated by men.

“Our work was cited as a good practice example by the United Nations.  I really hope that the lessons that can be learned from The Femicide Census are taken seriously.”


Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“More needs to be done to address men’s fatal violence against women, as once again the Femicide Census reveals fatalities not as isolated incidents but as part of a repeated pattern of male violence against women. Shockingly, in 2016, over two thirds of women killed by a men were killed by a current or former intimate partner; 83% of these women were killed at their own home or the home they shared with the perpetrator. The government must urgently put the prevention of femicide at the centre of its work to combat male violence against women and girls.

“Every woman should be safe in her own home. Until that day, refuges are a vital lifeline, not an optional extra; they are not just a bed for a night but essential for women to safely escape domestic abuse and rebuild their lives away from the perpetrator. A crucial part of preventing more fatalities must be to ensure sufficient provision for domestic abuse and sexual violence services, including refuges. Yet the government’s proposed changes to supported housing funding for refuges plan to remove refuges’ last secure form of funding.

“Demand for refuges already far outstrips supply and the proposed funding model could be the breaking point. Refuges will be faced with the awful reality of either turning more women away or closing their doors forever. Only by creating a long-term and sustainable funding model for a national network of refuges can we ensure that every woman can safely escape domestic abuse.

“Without a safe space to escape to, more women will be killed by men they know. The government must act now.”


For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid Press Office:020 7490 8330  / [email protected]


Notes to editors:

1) The Femicide Census

The Femicide Census was developed by Karen Ingala Smith and Women’s Aid working in partnership, with support from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Deloitte LLP. Where possible, the census has captured a wide range of information about each case including: (i) the name of the woman and her killer, their age, occupation and health status; (ii) the incident and date of the killing itself; details of the relevant police force area, the weapon and recorded motive; and (iv) other available details on children, ethnicity and country of birth. 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 has the most up-to-date information on femicide in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, currently containing information on over one thousand women killed by men in England and Wales since 2009, and Northern Ireland as of 2015. It is hoped that the research can also be expanded into Scotland in order to create a UK-wide picture of femicide. At the point of the publication of this report, a number of cases of femicide from 2016 could not be included. These cases are still under investigation and information was exempt from disclosure via police Freedom of Information requests. It is therefore believed that 113 is not the total number of cases of femicide for 2016.

2) Femicide 

Femicide is generally defined as the killing of women because they are women, though some definitions include any killing of women or girls by men. 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 . 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.

3) Karen Ingala Smith

Karen Ingala Smith has been recording and commemorating UK women killed by men since January 2012 in a campaign called Counting Dead Women. Karen is Chief Executive of nia, a London based charity championing an integrated approach to addressing all forms of men’s violence against women and girls.

nia has been delivering services to women and children who have experienced domestic and sexual violence for over 40 years. A proudly feminist organisation run by women, for women, their services currently include East London Rape Crisis, The Emma Project a pioneering service for women who are escaping domestic and sexual violence and who use substances problematically, Daria House, a refuge for women who have been sexually exploited, with a particular focus on supporting women who been exploited through their involvement in prostitution and The LEA Project supporting women to exit prostitution and a range of services to women experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

4) Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children.  Over the past 40 years, Women’s Aid has been at the forefront of shaping and coordinating responses to domestic violence and abuse through practice. We empower survivors by keeping their voices at the heart of our work, working with and for women and children by listening to them and responding to their needs. We are a federation of over 220 organisations who provide more than 300 local lifesaving services to women and children across the country. We provide expert training, qualifications and consultancy to a range of agencies and professionals working with survivors or commissioning domestic abuse services, and award a National Quality Mark for services which meet our quality standards. Our campaigns achieve change in policy, practice and awareness, encouraging healthy relationships and helping to build a future where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated. The 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership with Refuge) and our range of online services, which include the Survivors’ Forum, help hundreds of thousands of women and children every year.

© 2020 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

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