Ahead of the celebrations for International Women’s Day 2020, it is important to take time to reflect on the reasons why our ongoing work to end violence against women and girls is so crucial. The latest Femicide Census was released on February 20th, 2020. It reports on the number of girls and women over the age of 14 killed by men in the UK during 2018. Key findings from this report showed:
· 149 women were killed by 147 men.
· 91 women were killed by their current or former male spouse or intimate partner.
· 94% of femicides were committed by a man who was known to the victim.
· The youngest victim was aged 14 and the eldest victim was 100.
· 41% of the women killed by a partner or former partner had separated (or had taken steps to separate) from him with 30% killed within the first month and 70% killed within the first-year post separation.
· Three perpetrators had killed women before and at least 76 perpetrators (over half) were known to have had histories of previous violence against women.
There has been an increase in the number of women killed from last year’s femicide census, where it was reported that at least 139 women had been killed in the UK during 2017. These figures are extremely distressing and emphasise how much more work must be done to end violence against women and girls for good. The report also highlights the flaws in media coverage of male violence against women, stating the use of phrases such as “frenzied” and as a result of “a loss of control” in relation to the violence.
Karen Ingala Smith, Co-founder of The Femicide Census, said “There is a high degree of normalisation of men’s violence against women and no end of excuses or rationales assumed and extended to perpetrators often without foundation. We urge the media to be more professionally curious and to situate such killings in current research and in the context of what we know about the history of the relationship.” Welsh Women’s Aid continues to work alongside the media in Wales to encourage responsible and compassionate reporting. Our ‘Changing the Narrative’ event held on February 26th, 2020, in partnership with BBC Wales and NUJ Training brought together journalists and survivors to discuss how this relationship can be better developed.
If you are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence you are not alone and there is support available from our members across Wales and the national Live Fear Free Helpline: 0808 80 10 800.
Read the full Femicide Census here: https://femicidescensus.org/reports/