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

Femicide has been identified globally as a leading a cause of premature death for women, yet there is limited research on the issue in Europe.

The latest Femicide Census report, published in December 2018, reveals that 139 women killed by men in 2017, and 40% of cases featured ‘overkilling’. Three quarters (76%, 105) of women killed by men were killed by someone they knew; 30 women were killed by a stranger, of whom 21 were killed in a terrorist attack.

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 (59%, 82 women were killed at their home or the home they shared with the perpetrator), a sharp instrument was used as a weapon in 66 cases, and nearly half (46%, 64) of women killed by men were killed by a current or former intimate partner.

For the first time, the Femicide Census has collected data on incidents of overkilling, where the force and/or methods used by the perpetrator was greater than that required to kill the victim.

Overkilling was evident in four in ten (42%, 58) cases where women were killed by men in 2017, according to data collected by the latest Femicide Census report from court and media reports.

One report stated that a victim had been stabbed 175 times, while several victims were described in reports as being “hit 40 times with an axe”, “bludgeoned repeatedly” and “battered virtually beyond all recognition”.

By viewing these cases of femicide all together, we can learn what needs to be done to reduce, and ultimately prevent, the killing of women by men

Download the full report (2017)Download the full report (2016)
The Femicide Census: 2017 Findings. Annual Report on UK Femicides 2017
The Femicide Census: 2017 Findings. Annual Report on UK Femicides 2017

Key Recommendations

  • The Westminster government must ensure that the proposed domestic abuse bill and wider violence against women and girls strategy incorporates the findings and learnings from the Femicide Census
  • The Westminster government and devolved institutions must work with specialist organisations to develop a long term, sustainable funding model with national oversight for specialist domestic abuse and violence against women and girls services.
  • Public services, including police, social services, health, housing and other relevant agencies, must review and implement learnings from the Femicide Census, domestic homicide reviews, serious case reviews, fatal accident inquiries and coroners’ notices following the death or suicide of a woman after experiencing male violence.

What is the Femicide Census?

The Femicide Census is a database containing information on over one thousand women killed by men in England and Wales since 2009. It is a ground-breaking project which aims to provide a clearer picture of men’s fatal violence against women by allowing for detailed tracking and analysis.

It was developed by Karen Ingala Smith and Women’s Aid working in partnership, with support from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Deloitte LLP.

The 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 it and ultimately help us reduce femicide.

In February 2015 the Femicide Census was launched. It was based on information collected by Karen Ingala Smith and recorded in her blog Counting Dead Women. Since January 2012 she has searched the web for news of women killed by men; information that was hidden in plain sight- in a plethora of Domestic Homicide Reviews, police statistics, local press articles and reports in which women killed by men were mentioned.

She gathered details of the perpetrators and the incident of murder itself, including the date, names, police force area and information about children, recorded motive and the weapon.

In December 2016, the first Femicide Census Report was released.

Download the 2015 Femicide Census Report Download the 2016 Femicide Census Report

If you have any information or queries about the census, please email us on: [email protected]

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, speaking at the Femicide census launch, 2015.

What is femicide?

Know the facts.

Learn more

The women killed by men

Remembering the women who have been killed.

Learn more

“She was my aunt.”

Stories from the families of murdered women.

Watch films

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