'Home is most likely place for women to get killed', new UN study finds

'Home is most likely place for women to get killed', new UN study finds
Copyright REUTERS
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
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A new report by the United Nations found that an average of 137 women across the world are killed by a partner or family member every day.


Every day, 137 women across the world are killed by a family member or partner, according to new data released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

A total of 87,000 women were intentionally killed in 2017. Of that number, 30,000 were killed by an intimate partner, "making the home the most likely place for a woman to be killed", UNODC said.

The UN agency's 'Global Study on Homicide' looked at national data to examine the scale of gender-related killings of women and girls by intimate partners or family members.

It found that the largest number of women killed by these two groups was in Asia (20,000). In Europe, 3,000 women were killed by a partner or family member that same year.

Women in Africa were found to be most at risk of being killed by a partner or family member (3.1 per 100,000 female population), while those in Europe are at the lowest risk (0.1 per 100,00).

However, while the risk is lower in Europe than elsewhere in the world, it is still significant.

Of all female homicides in Europe, more than a third (38%) of women were killed by intimate partners or family members, and 29% were killed exclusively by intimate partners in 2017.

The report says women bear the biggest burden in terms of intimate partner violence.

"The death of those killed by intimate partners does not usually result from random or spontaneous acts, but rather from the culmination of prior gender-related violence."

Jealousy and fear of abandonment are among the main motives, it said.

Women killed by partners in European countries

Eurostat data published in 2016 found that Malta had the highest rate of female intentional homicides by an intimate partner (0.92 per 100,000 population) of the European countries it looked at.

Latvia had the lowest number (0.09 per 100,000 inhabitants).

However, Eurostat was only able to collect data for 19 European countries.

What is being done to fight domestic violence in Europe?

Domestic violence laws in Europe are constantly being revised to improve protection for victims. Here are some of the laws that are currently being revised across the European continent.

United Kingdom

The British government is trying to bring in new legislation this year, which includes enabling courts to impose conditions on abusers such as attending rehabilitation programmes for addictions or behaviour problems and using electronic tagging to monitor them. Breaching these conditions could become a criminal offence under the new proposals.


France's gender equality minister, Marlene Schiappa, this year announced new government plans to fight domestic violence, which includes a TV campaign aimed at people who have witnessed domestic violence, increasing funding for the national helpline, an online platform to report domestic violence, and a GPS tool to locate emergency shelters for victims.


Under the new Spanish law against domestic violence, as changed this year, victims do not have to name their abusers to receive social and legal protection like they did previously.


Italian law does not provide measures aimed specifically and exclusively at combating violence towards women. However, in 2013, the Italian Parliament approved a law which contains provisions aimed at preventing and suppressing domestic and gender-based violence. The law has introduced some changes to the Italian criminal code and the code of criminal procedure.


What does the UNDOC suggest?

In the report, UNODC called for more action to fight gender-based violence by increasing coordination between police, doctors and social services. It also called for more specialised support services are available for women at risk.

UN Methodology: The data was compiled from homicide statistics produced by national statistical systems. However, the report highlights that a large share of violence against women continues to be "widely underreported to authorities and that a large share of such violence is hidden."

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