A woman can be killed when she tries to leave her violent partner, which happened less often during the Covid lockdowns
The Femicide Census usually reports on women killed by men annually, but we had incomplete data from 2019, which continued into 2020 and beyond, largely due to the pandemic’s impact on the court system. We’re finally publishing the findings for each of those years this weekend. It may seem surprising that during a time when men’s violence against women led mainstream news for a while, we recorded two consecutive years of falls in the numbers of women killed by men. In fact, 2020 finds the lowest numbers of women killed by men since our records began in 2009. This is largely driven by a reduction in the number of women recorded as killed by current or former partners. For the 10 years ending in 2018 on average, 89 women (62% of all women killed by men) were killed by current or former partners every year. In 2019 this was 65 women (51% of all women killed by men) and in 2020, the number was 57 women (51% of all women killed by men).
We know, thanks to Karen Ingala Smith’s project Counting Dead Women, that the number of women killed by a male suspect increases again in 2021 to 141, higher than the number of women killed in 2019 and 2020. We must therefore ask what happened in 2021 that could have a discernible impact and how should that inform policy-makers, particularly around support for women in relationships with violent men.