European action to identify and trace femicide

In 2020 alone, 444 women across 10 EU member states were killed by their intimate partners
European action to identify and trace femicide

EU needs a common EU-wide definition of femicide – the killing of women and girls because of their gender – the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) said when announcing a campaign to make member states identify different forms of femicide.

The Institute says a common definition “would help EU Member States identify these gender-based killings, which currently vanish into female homicide statistics.”

“Knowing the motivations and circumstances that lie behind the killing of women and girls can help EU governments better protect potential victims, as well as punish and deter perpetrators.”

The Institute says femicide can include intentional homicides, such as the killing of women by their current or former partners, as well as unintentional killings, such as the death of a woman undergoing an unsafe abortion.

According to official data gathered by EIGE, 444 women across 10 EU member states were killed by their intimate partners in 2020.

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To help countries identify the different forms of femicide, EIGE’s action package includes a classification system and guidance on how to identify the ‘gender dimension’ of a female homicide.

“While no EU Member State currently has a legal definition of femicide, some countries do recognise gendered motivations behind killings of women in their laws, for example because of hatred on the grounds of her sex. This has allowed EIGE to assess the different ways EU countries measure femicide and provide recommendations on how to improve.”

“The more data we have about the killings of women and girls, the more likely it is that we will be able to correctly identify femicides. And the more EU countries collect the same type of data, the more information we have on the motivations and circumstances behind these killings.”

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EIGE advises EU countries on a set of variables to collect at a minimum in order to establish whether a killing is a femicide, and to gain more understanding about the context behind it.

Variables include: demographic information on victims and perpetrators; the relationship between victim and perpetrator; the context of the killing, such as whether there were any child witnesses; and the presence of any gendered risk factors such as dependence or previous violence.

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