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
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.
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