Two thirds of UK femicide victims killed by partner or ex

by Emma Batha | @emmabatha | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 11 December 2017 15:17 GMT

Officers and vehicles stand outside a block of flats in London, Britain, June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

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113 women were killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2016

By Emma Batha

LONDON, Dec 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than two women were killed by men every week in Britain last year, most of them by a partner or an ex, a charity said on Monday as it warned proposals to change funding for refuges would place more women in danger.

The Femicide Census, an annual study by Women's Aid, showed 113 women were killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2016, broadly stable from previous years.

More than two thirds were killed by a current or former partner; 83 percent of them in their own home, according to the charity which campaigns to end domestic abuse.

Most of those killed by an ex husband or boyfriend were murdered within a year of separation.

Women's Aid chief executive, Katie Ghose, said the census showed femicides should not be treated as isolated incidents but as part of a repeated pattern of male violence against women.

She also warned that government plans to change funding for refuges could force many to close, leaving women and children at greater risk.

"Without a safe space to escape to, more women will be killed by men they know. The government must act now," she said.

At the moment women seeking protection can use housing benefit welfare payments to pay to stay in refuges, but the government proposes to give grants to local councils instead.

However, Women's Aid said most women fleeing abuse sought refuge outside their local area.

The government has said its aim is to "remove the need for vulnerable people to pay their rent at a difficult time in their lives" and to give refuges more certainty over funding.

But Ghose said demand for refuges already far outstripped supply and the proposed overhaul could be the breaking point.

The charity estimates such reforms could force a third of 300 refuge services in England and Wales to shut, forcing many victims to sleep rough or return to live with abusers.

Ghose urged the government to create a long-term funding model for a national network of refuges.

"Every woman should be safe in her own home. Until that day, refuges are a vital lifeline, not an optional extra; they are not just a bed for a night but essential for women to safely escape domestic abuse and rebuild their lives away from the perpetrator," she said in a statement.

The report, which names all 113 women in a dedication at the front, said the figure could rise as some deaths were still under investigation.

(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

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