Day 16: 1 in 2 women murdered in Ireland are killed by their partner or ex

Posted on December 10, 2020 at 09:01 AM

Day 16

On the final day of the 2020 16 Facts for 16 Days campaign, we highlight the link between femicide and domestic violence. 3 women have died violently in 2020.Through our Femicide Watch project, we know that a woman in Ireland is more likely to be killed in her own home and by a current or former partner or spouse than anyone else as almost 9 in 10 (87%) of women knew their killer.

The report reveals that since the beginning of 1996, when Women’s Aid began the Femicide Watch project, 236 women have died violently in the Republic of Ireland[1]. 18 children were killed alongside their mothers. 147 women (62%) were killed in their own homes.

Of the resolved cases, 55% of women were killed by a current or former spouse or partner.

Women of any age can be victims of femicide, however, women under the age of 35 account for 50% of femicide cases in Ireland. In almost all murder suicide cases (21 out of 22), the killer was the woman’s partner or ex with the most common method of killing being stabbing with knives or other sharp objects (34%). In the 22 cases where a woman was killed by a male relative. 18 were killed by their sons (82%).

Domestic violence kills women. Every day on the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline we hear from women who live on a knife edge of fear and it would be wrong to underestimate the scale and impact of violence against women. Homicide is the ultimate act of domestic violence. Last year there were 671 disclosures where a man has told the woman he will kill her and 268 threats to harm the children, her family or to self-harm. We heard devastating accounts from women who had experienced facial and body bruising, hair loss, loss of consciousness, loss of teeth, broken ribs, burns, cuts and hospitalisation as a result of the abuse.

Lethal violence is at the most severe end of the spectrum of violence against women. We know where women are killed. We know how women are killed and by whom. It is time to act. Femicide by an intimate partner must not be accepted as a fact of life. Women should be safe in their homes and in their relationships. And we must recognise the strong connection between the killing of women and domestic violence.

We track femicide figures because our work in the area tells us that the types of abuse and behaviour that precedes intimate partner femicide mirrors what we hear from women each day on 24hr National Freephone Helpline and our One to One Support Service. We know just how dangerous domestic abuse can be and that unfortunately, the horrendous catalogue of incidents that women disclose to us every day are just the tip of the iceberg.

There is no greater violation of a woman’s human rights than the right to life itself and we will continue to bring to light the extent and impact of men’s fatal violence against women in Irish society.

Learn more about femicide in our Femicide Watch Republic of Ireland 2019 Report.

[1] 5 This figure includes two women (killed in 2014 and 2015) added late to the records, 1 woman killed in December 2019 and 3 women killed in 2020 as of 16 November 2020.)

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