The prevalence of domestic abuse and domestic violence has been highlighted during the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown because of the increase in the number of reported cases, the vast majority of which are from women, being abused by their male partners. It is a positive that the frightening statistics are making the headlines as it has resulted in the Government providing funding to support those who are victim survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse.
The scale of domestic violence has recently been highlighted by the publication of a census in the UK recording femicide, women killed by men.
What is Femicide?
Femicide is the killing of a woman or girl, particularly by a man, on account of their gender. It is the intentional murder of a woman or girl because they are female. Femicide is usually perpetrated by men, but sometimes female family members may be involved.
The Femicide Census is a 10 year report on men’s fatal violence against women in the UK between 2009 and 2018. The report, published in November 2020, brings together the killings of 1425 women and girls age 14 and over and the 1419 men who ended their lives between 2009 and 2018.
The Femicide Census commemorates the women killed and aims to provide a clear account of men’s fatal violence against women in the UK. The census draws on publicly verified material on the killings of women in all forms of male violence, to compile the data.
The data reveals that 62% of all women killed by men were killed by a current or former partner. At least 34% of women killed had children under 18 years of age. Worryingly, a history of abuse was known in 59% of femicides committed by current or former partners, or other male relatives. This demonstrates why so much more needs to be done to help, to support women of domestic violence.
On average, a woman is killed by a current or former partner every four days.
Global pandemic of Violence against Women
Domestic violence is not just a problem in our islands but is a global pandemic. Six women are killed every hour by men around the world, most by men in their own family or their partners. The United Nations says that Covid 19 is overshadowing the issue. The latest United Nations figures reveal that 137 women across the world are killed every day by a partner or member of their own family, a total of about 50,000 women each year.
International Day for the elimination of violence against women, which concludes on the 10 December 2020 has a global theme of “fund, respond, prevent, collect”. In the UK we certainly need more funding to support women, to enable them to escape the horror of domestic violence. I recently had the privilege to attend training on domestic violence and domestic abuse, which highlights the work that employers can do to help victim survivors. Many women escape abuse by going to work, although they may not feel able to talk about the violence they are subjected to in their home, to colleagues. There is, therefore, a campaign, inviting employers to initiate workplace #safeplace, where victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence can see help. This is just one example of what can be done to reduce the terrible statistics.
There is not going to be a quick fix, but hopefully, small steps, such as providing a safe haven in the workplace, and more funding from the government will help to reduce the level of domestic violence and femicide.