Monday, October 15, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: United Kingdom

 The UK Home Office collects data on all homicides on the England and Wales Homicide Index6, which is a computer-based system where all homicides are initially recorded by the police. It has existed since 1976. This initial information is updated with suspect information and court outcomes, once available. Information relating to age, gender, motivation and relationship is recorded for all victims and perpetrators. It also contains information regarding female homicide victims, their ages and their relationships to the perpetrators. In Scotland, similar information is collected by the Scottish Government.
In the UK, the Femicide Census was developed in partnership by Karen Ingala Smith, CEO of Nia, and Women’s Aid, and with support from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Deloitte LLP. The Femicide Census aims to provide a clear picture of femicide in the UK, in order to understand and address this phenomenon and, most importantly, to give a voice to the victims who have lost their lives to men’s violence. Originally developed with data from Ingala Smith’s blog Counting Dead Women, it is now an influential observatory on femicide, detailing almost 1000 women who have been killed by men in England and Wales, since 2009.
The Femicide Census provides invaluable quantitative information regarding femicide in the UK, which equips us with a better understanding of the phenomenon and places us in an improved position to tackle a leading cause of premature death among women. Where possible, the Census                                                         

includes information, such as the name of the woman and her killer, their ages, occupations and health statuses, the elements of the killing itself – including the date, police area, weapon and recorded motive – as well as other available details for each case, relating to children, ethnicity and country of birth. The collection of this data demonstrates that these killings are not isolated incidents, and enables us to analyze trends and patterns in more depth, significantly furthering our understanding of the phenomenon of femicide. Most importantly, the Femicide Census gives a voice to the victims who have died as a result of the most extreme manifestation of male violence against women. In her recent report to the General Assembly (A/71/398), the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women (SRVAW) specifically cites the UK’s Femicide Census as an outstanding example of data collection practice. The SRVAW, the UN and its member states have repeatedly concluded that the comparability and availability of data are key requirements for defining and understanding femicide together with its manifestations, causes and consequences. 7
1 Definition
There is no agreed-upon UK government definition of femicide, and the term is not employed in official statistics. The Office for National Statistics publishes data on homicide in their Crime Survey for England and Wales8. These data are categorized according to the sex of the victim. The motive in these statistics is not given based on the gender of the victim, but instead on the victim's relationship to the perpetrator. While men are more likely to be killed, it is primarily by other men, while women are far more likely to be killed by their current or former partners, often as part of a premeditated action following coercive and controlling behavior by the perpetrator.   
 (by Hilary Fisher, Aisha K. Gill and Heidi Stöckl)

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    

However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.

Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 

Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels

 6 Source: entcrimeandsexualoffences/yearendingmarch2015/chapter2homicide
7 Source:
8 Source: entcrimeandsexualoffences/yearendingmarch2015/chapter2homicide
9 Source: entcrimeandsexualoffences/yearendingmarch2015/chapter2homicide#focus-on-domestic-homicides

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