In December 2017, Women’s Aid published the Femicide Census results for 2016. The report revealed that 113 women were killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2016. Femicide is the murder of women because they are women though some definitions will categorise any murder of females as femicide.
The Femicide Census was launched in February 2015 by Karen Ingala Smith and Women’s Aid in the hope that by correlating cases of femicide they could not only find a connection between cases but find a way of identifying the signs and preventing further abuse and femicide.
Despite only starting the census two years ago, it has already revealed key details. The report revealing 2016 figures has shown that 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.
The reports have already helped in identifying key markers. Most of the cases reveal a similar pattern of male violence towards women, they also revealed that many acts of femicide were committed in similar settings such as the victim’s home or the home she shared with the perpetrator. Similar weapons were used (usually sharp instruments) and the reports have also shown that similar relationships existed between the victim and the perpetrator (the majority of the victims were killed by a current or former partner).
Key findings from the Women’s Aid website and the Femicide Consensus reveal that from 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2016:
- 69% of women were killed by a current or former intimate partner.
- 1% of women were killed by a male family member, i.e. a son, father, brother, nephew or grandson.
- 4% of women were killed by a man they knew, who was of no intimate or familial relation to them.
- 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.
- 2% of women were killed at their own home, or the home they shared with the perpetrator.
- 4% of women killed by their ex-partner or ex-spouse were killed within the first year that followed that separation. (1)
- 5% 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.
The Census should not only be able to help authorities and charities but be able to identify cases quickly. It reveals that we need to take domestic violence cases far more seriously in order to prevent further loss.