More than 130 women were killed by men in 2017, with two in five cases involving excessive violence, a “harrowing” report has found.
Campaigning MP Jess Phillips has called the murder of women “an epidemic” in the wake of the latest Femicide Census and urged Prime Minister Theresa May to address the issue in “long overdue” legislation to tackle domestic abuse.
The report, drawn up by Women’s Aid, shows a rise in the number of killings from 2016, when there were 113, and 2015, when there were 119.
It also found 58 of the deaths in 2017 featured “overkilling”, where more violence is used than is necessary to kill the victim.
The charity said “men’s violence against women and girls is not only routine, but tolerated and normalised” after it examined the 139 deaths of women and girls aged 14 and over at the hands of men last year, including the 21 victims of terrorist attacks in Manchester and London.
Phillips, who used speeches in parliament to name every one of the women killed the previous year, said: “This census is harrowing and every year we see how that the murder of women is an epidemic.
“If every week two people were killed on our rail network, or at a sporting event there would be a national scandal, but we have become too used to the murder of women in their homes.
“The government must address this in the Domestic Abuse Bill which is now long overdue and recognise that every delay in taking action costs lives.”
Women’s Aid, which compiled the report with the help of campaigner Karen Ingala Smith, said ministers must intervene to stop women’s refuges from closing down.
Of the victims last year, 64 women (46%) were killed by their current or former partner and when the terrorist attacks were excluded, the proportion rose to 54.2%.
Thirty (21.6%) were killed by a stranger, including 21 women killed in terror attacks; 24 died at the hands of a man outside their family but known to them, such as a friend, colleague or neighbour; 10 women (7.2%) were killed by their sons, and seven women (4.9%) were killed by another male family member.
Most victims were aged between 26 and 55 and the majority were killed either at their home or the perpetrator’s.
Despite the extreme level of fatal male violence being used against women, it is clear that not enough is being done to protect women from men’s violence and prevent more women’s lives being taken.Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid
Of those who were killed by their ex-partner, 12 (55%) died within the first month of separation, and 19 (87%) within the first year.
Nearly three-quarters of the 126 killers (90) were aged between 26 and 55, and most of the killings involved a sharp instrument (66).
Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “Time and time again, we hear of cases where a woman has been killed by a man as an ‘isolated incident’, yet the latest Femicide Census report shows yet again that this is not the case.
“The majority of these cases are not isolated incidents, there are too many similarities in the circumstances where women are killed by men.
“In four in 10 cases, there was evidence that the perpetrator used excessive violence, more than was necessary, to kill the victim. Despite the extreme level of fatal male violence being used against women, it is clear that not enough is being done to protect women from men’s violence and prevent more women’s lives being taken.”
The government is expected to publish its Domestic Abuse Bill later this week.
Ghose added: “Our network of life-saving specialist services is not an optional extra but an essential piece of the jigsaw in our response to domestic abuse and femicide.
“They not only provide survivors with the support they need to escape abuse but they are also often the key to survivors having the confidence to report the abuse to the police in the first place.
“The Domestic Abuse Bill must protect specialist services from closure - only then can we ensure that every survivor can safely escape and rebuild her life, free from fear and abuse.”
Where The Killings Took Place – Breakdown
Greater Manchester includes 16 victims of terrorism, and the Metropolitan Police force area five.
Forces where there were no such deaths are not included in the list.
Greater Manchester - 22
Metropolitan Police Service - 20
West Midlands - 11
Police Scotland - 10
Avon and Somerset - 5
Police Service of Northern Ireland - 5
Thames Valley - 5
Devon and Cornwall - 4
Essex - 4
Lancashire - 4
Merseyside - 4
Northumbria - 4
West Yorkshire - 4
Leicestershire - 3
North Wales - 3
South Wales - 3
Derbyshire - 2
Hertfordshire - 2
Kent - 2
Norfolk - 2
Staffordshire - 2
Suffolk - 2
Warwickshire - 2
West Mercia - 2
Cambridgeshire - 1
Cheshire - 1
Dorset - 1
Dyfed-Powys - 1
Gwent - 1
Humberside - 1
Lincolnshire - 1
North Yorkshire - 1
Nottinghamshire - 1
South Yorkshire - 1
Surrey - 1
Sussex - 1