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Fifth Femicide Census report shows ‘serious failing and lack of will to tackle root causes’

The Femicide Census has produced its fifth, and most comprehensive, report to date of women killed by men in the UK.

The UK-wide, ten-year report [2009-2018], which includes expert contributions from families whose loved ones have been taken violently from them and from professionals working on violence against women and girls, examines 1,425 cases of women killed by 1,419 men in all forms of violence against women. The Femicide Census is unique in the UK in that it covers all women killed by men and not only domestic homicide. It finds the number of women killed every year by men has stayed consistent at between 124 and 168 women killed each year raising serious questions about the State's response to men's violence against women in the last decade.

The report states:

"By any measure, we had hoped to see the number of killings gradually decreasing given the State has had our data for a number of years, as well as its own initiatives to tackle men's violent crime against women. We show that there are so many patterns to the killings which would enable the State to target certain factors which could lead to a reduction in the number of women killed. The fact that a similar number of women are still being killed over a decade is a serious failing and indicates a lack of will to tackle root causes."

In 46 per cent of all cases (658) the perpetrator had a history of violence, whether against this victim or against other people. Indeed, in 29 cases the perpetrator had killed before: in 20 of such cases, women and in nine cases, men and, in one case, the perpetrator was a serial killer. In at least 59 per cent of femicides committed by intimate partners or male relatives, there was a history of prior abuse by the perpetrator against the victim. In 67 per cent of cases of intimate partner violence, the victim had told someone about the abuse she was experiencing and in 55 per cent of cases, the violence and brutality used in the killing amounted to "overkilling".

In 62 per cent of cases, the primary context of the violence was intimate partner abuse, that is to say abuse committed by a current or ex-spouse/intimate partner. In 43 per cent of those cases the victim had separated or taken steps to separate from the perpetrator, and in 89 per cent of such cases, she was killed within one year of separating/taking steps to separate. In a further 10 per cent of cases, it was violence committed by another male relative, including 111 cases of sons, step-sons and grandsons killing mother figures. In 13 per cent of cases where the victim was aged over 66 years, the killer was a robber or burglar.

The report addresses:

For the census, click here. For an executive summary, click here.