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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 2017, reveals that 113 women were killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2016. Nine in ten women killed that year were killed by someone they knew, 78 women were killed by their current or former intimate partner and 65 of those were killed in their own home or the home they shared with the perpetrator.

By collating these femicides together in one report, we can see that these killings are not isolated incidents; too many of them follow a similar pattern of male violence against women. Many were committed in similar settings (at the victim’s home or home they shared with the perpetrator), similar weapons were used (sharp instruments), and similar relationships existed between the perpetrators and victims (the majority were killed by a current or former intimate partner).

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
Image of The Femicide Census Report 2017
The Femicide Census Report for 2016 (published December 2017)

Key Findings

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

Victims:

  • 69% (n=78) of women were killed by a current or former intimate partner.
  • 7.1% (n=8) of women were killed by a male family member, i.e. a son, father, brother, nephew or grandson.
  • 12.4% (n=14) of women were killed by a man they knew, but who was of no intimate or familial relation to them.
  • 7.9% (n=9) of women were killed by a stranger.
  • The greatest number of femicides occurred within the London Metropolitan, South Wales and Greater Manchester police force areas.
  • 75.2% (n=85) of women were killed at their own home, or the home they shared with the perpetrator.
  • 77.4% (n=24) of women killed by their ex-partner or ex-spouse were killed within the first year that followed that separation. (1)

Perpetrators:

  • 27.5% (n=30) of perpetrators were aged between 36 and 45.
  • In 47 cases, perpetrators used a sharp instrument to kill their victims.
  • 19 men suspected of killing a woman either killed themselves or died prior to trial.
  • 37 perpetrators pleaded not guilty to murder, 28 of whom were found guilty of murder.
  • 84 perpetrators were found guilty of murder, manslaughter or of causing death. (2)
  • In 47 cases, perpetrators used a sharp instrument to kill the victim

(1) This figure is of those women known to have separated from their partner/spouse only.
(2) At the end of November 2017, five perpetrators are awaiting trial.

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 first 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.

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