Women, girls more at risk of being killed at home, study
What you need to know:
- Study says more than five women or girls were killed every hour by someone in their own family in 2021.
- Asia recorded the largest number of gender-related killings in the private sphere in 2021.
- Between January and December 2019, a total of 108 women in Kenya were reported killed through femicide.
A new study released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UN Women shows that women and girls are more at risk to be killed at home.
The study says that on average, more than five women or girls were killed every hour by someone in their own family in 2021. It estimates there were about 45,000 female intimate partner or family-related homicides recorded in 2021, based on data from 103 countries.
In 2021, the rate of gender-related killings in the private sphere according to the report, was estimated at 2.5 per 100,000 female population in Africa, compared with 1.4 in the America, 1.2 in Oceania, 0.8 in Asia and 0.6 in Europe
The findings also suggest that the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, coincided with a significant increase in gender-related killings in the private sphere in Northern America and to some extent in Western and Southern Europe.
Speaking during the launch of the report, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous decried the shocking statistics, noting that behind every femicide statistic is the story of an individual woman or girl who has been failed.
“These deaths are preventable, the tools and the knowledge to do so already exist. Women’s rights organizations are already monitoring data and advocating for policy change and accountability. Now we need concerted action across society that will fulfil women’s and girls’ right to feel and to be safe, at home, on the streets, and everywhere,” said Ms Bahous.
UNODC Executive Ghada Waly, said no woman or girl should fear for her life because of who she is.
“To stop all forms of gender-related killings of women and girls, we need to count every victim, everywhere, and improve understanding of the risks and drivers of femicide so we can design better and more effective prevention and criminal justice responses,” she said.
Asia recorded the largest number of gender-related killings in the private sphere in 2021, whereas women and girls were more at risk of being killed by their intimate partners or family members in Africa.
The report says gender-related killings can and must be prevented, with a combination of early identification of women affected by violence, access to survivor-centred support and protection, ensuring that the police and justice systems are more responsive to the needs of survivors.
The study also emphasizes on the need for primary prevention by addressing the root causes of violence against women and girls including through transforming harmful masculinities, social norms, eliminating structural gender inequalities and gender stereotypes.
Strengthening data collection on femicide, the report adds, is a critical step to inform policies and programs aimed to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls.
The findings show that over the past decade, the overall number of female homicides has remained largely unchanged, underscoring the urgency to prevent and respond to this scourge with stronger actions.
Even though the numbers are alarmingly high, the study notes the true scale of femicide may be much higher.
Too many victims of femicide still go uncounted given inconsistencies in definitions and criteria amongst countries.
In Kenya, Counting Dead Women (CDW), a social media initiative that records every femicide reported in Kenya, has been providing data on the number of girls and women killed through violence.
According to the organisation, from January to December 2019, a total of 108 women in Kenya were reported killed through femicide.
The number declined to 39 in 2020 from the same period with a total of 14 of women and girls having been killed from January to April 2021.
The Kenyan government has committed a range of actions to address this issue including collection of data on gender-based violence and establishment an emergency toll-free line for assistance with gender-based violence and general emergencies.