Domestic Violence Killings Hit Five-Year High

Data shows major surge in number of victims last year, renewing calls for domestic violence bill to be passed.
Aneta Pucia / EyeEm via Getty Images

The number of domestic violence killings has hit a five-year high, new figures show.

Data obtained by the BBC from 43 police forces across the UK reveal that 173 people died in domestic violence-related homicides last year.

The statistics, reported on Friday, show there were 165 domestic killings in 2014, 160 in 2015, 139 in 2016 and 141 in 2017.

Other figures show around three-quarters of victims of domestic killings are women, while suspects are mostly male.

The new data emerged after Boris Johnson pledged to reintroduce domestic abuse legislation in the next Queen’s Speech.

The prime minister tweeted on Thursday: “Domestic abuse shatters lives and tears families apart.

“We are fully committed to tackling this horrific crime - which is why the Queen’s Speech will confirm we will be reintroducing domestic abuse legislation in the next session.”

Sir James Munby, former president of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales, has called for the Domestic Abuse Bill to be brought back before Parliament.

He told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Thursday: “This is a vitally important Bill, tackling what everyone agrees is a very great social evil.

“It is immensely depressing nothing effective has been done to get this necessary reform through Parliament.”

Munby added: “The Bill must be reintroduced in parliament as soon as the next session starts.

“It must then be pursued to the earliest possible conclusion of the parliamentary process with determination, vigour and a real sense of urgent commitment on the part of government.

“What the prime minister does or not will be a vital litmus test of his real commitment to safeguarding those in our society who are vulnerable, disadvantaged and oppressed.”

The Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced in Parliament in July.

The proposals would give better protection to those fleeing violence by placing a new legal duty on councils to provide secure homes for them and their children.

It would also introduce the first legal government definition of domestic abuse, which would include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical behaviour.

A row erupted earlier this month over former prime minister Theresa May’s decision to honour her favourite cricketer, Sir Geoffrey Boycott, who was was convicted in France in 1998 of beating up his then girlfriend in a Riviera hotel.

While campaigners said it was sending a “dangerous message” that “domestic abuse is not taken seriously as a crime”, Boycott said he “couldn’t give a toss” about criticism of his knighthood.

A man who fatally stabbed his girlfriend in the early hours of New Year's Day has been found guilty of murder
A man who fatally stabbed his girlfriend in the early hours of New Year's Day has been found guilty of murder
HuffPost UK

Figures show that four in five female victims of domestic homicide were killed by a partner or ex-partner from April 2014 to March 2017. The vast majority of suspects were male.

Charlotte Huggins, the first person to be murdered in 2019 in the UK, was killed by her partner in the early hours of January 1 at her south London home.

The fatal attack happened days 33-year-old Huggins told her assailant, Michael Rolle, that she wanted their relationship to end. He was sentenced to life in July.

The same month Aaron McKenzie, 25, was found guilty of murdering his ex-partner Kelly Mary Fauvrelle, 26, who was eight months pregnant.

She was stabbed to death in her house in on June 29 and her baby, Riley, died four days later.

If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you are not in immediate danger, you can contact:

  • The Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership by Women’s Aid and Refuge): 0808 2000 247
  • In Scotland, contact Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline: 0800 027 1234
  • In Northern Ireland, contact the 24 hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline: 0808 802 1414
  • In Wales, contact the 24 hour Life Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.
  • National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428
  • Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
  • Respect helpline (for anyone worried about their own behaviour): 0808 802 0321