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Over half of women killed by men in the UK are murdered by a partner or an ex

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Hollie Richardson
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Domestic abuse

New femicide findings show the highest number of women killed by men since the Femicide Census began, and over half of them were killed by a partner or ex-partner.

A new report shows how urgently the government needs to address domestic abuse in the UK.

The fourth Femicide Census, conducted by campaigner Karen Ingala Smith, has found that 149 women were killed by 147 men in 2018. This is an increase of 10 since the year before, and it’s the highest number on record since the census began.

It also found that 91 (61%) of the women referred to in the 2018 census were killed by a current or former partner, with 6% of murders being committed by a stranger.

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Of the 58 women not killed by current or former partners, 12 were killed by their sons or stepsons, while five were killed by a son-in-law or former son-in-law. Over half of the male murderers already had a history of stalking, violence and killing – three had previously killed a woman. 

The majority of killings (68%) occurred either in or immediately around the woman’s house. And many of the murders happened after the woman had taken steps to leave. In fact, 41% of the women were in the process of leaving: 30% of these killings were within the first month and 70% were within the first year after separation.

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Speaking about the findings, Ingala Smith 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.”

She added: “In 52% of femicides in 2018, there was evidence of some sort, often from things victims had said to friends or families even if not actually in reports to police, to suggest a previous history of his violence and controlling behaviour towards her. In too many cases there was also evidence of his having a history of violence towards other women with three perpetrators having even previously killed another woman.

“Women are reaching out for help and many men are known to be dangerous to women but we don’t seem to be turning this knowledge into ways to save women’s lives.”

You can read the full report here. 

If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.

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Images: Getty

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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