Femicide Census tells a ‘disturbing but familiar’ story


The latest Femicide Census report, published in December 2018, reveals that 139 women were killed by men in the UK in 2017, and 42% of cases featured ‘overkilling’.

The report was compiled by Karen Ingala Smith (CEO of Nia) in collaboration with Women’s Aid, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Deloitte LLP.

Three-quarters of these women were killed by someone they knew, and more than half were killed by their partner or ex-partner.

For the first time, the census collected data on ‘overkilling’ (extreme violence, i.e. use of force that was greater than required to kill the victim) and found that 42% of femicide cases featured this level of violence.

Sandra Horley, CBE, chief executive of Refuge, said:

“The latest femicide report tells a disturbing but familiar story: 139 women were killed by men in the UK in 2017, and (excluding terror attacks) more than half of these women were killed by their partner or ex-partner. It’s worth noting that this figure excludes cases currently going through the courts, so the actual number of femicides will be even higher.

These murders often follow a clear pattern. Key themes include extreme violence (42% of deaths), the perpetrator using a sharp instrument (47%) to kill their victim, and the murder taking place in the home (59%). Most (55%) of the women killed by their partner or ex-partner were killed within the first month of separation.

The police must take all reports of domestic violence seriously, and take proactive steps to keep every woman safe and prevent these atrocities from happening.

We urge the Government to ensure the imminent Domestic Abuse Bill uses the full force of the criminal justice system to protect women, whilst providing adequate funding for specialist services for survivors.”

For media queries, email press@refuge.org.uk or ring 0207 395 7731 (out of hours and weekend enquiries: 07970 894240)