Just days before the General Election, we have released our report on UK femicides in 2021

Our report, on women killed by men in 2021 is released, just days before a general election. Since the Conservative government came to power in May 2010, the lives of at least 1,924 women have been cut short by men. That’s an average of one woman dead at the hands of a man every 2.7 days. It is vital that the incoming government understands that it is not good enough to leave femicide reform to grieving families and loved ones. 
2021 femicide census report cover

At least 147 women were killed by men in 2021, with 144 men convicted of their killing and with one last case outstanding.

Data from 2021 may seem like old news if you are chasing headlines, but because, uniquely, we also report on criminal justice outcomes for the men accused of killing women in the year in question, there will inevitably be a delay in the production and publication of our reports.

In 2021, like previous years, most women killed by men were killed by a current or former partner (53%), of those at least half had left or were taking steps to leave him. Almost three quarters (74%) were killed in their home and a sharp instrument, consistently the most common method used in men’s fatal violence against women, was used in 52 per cent of cases of woman killing by men. Ten per cent of men killed themselves after they killed a woman. Femicide in the UK follows a remarkably consistent trajectory.

Yet some claimed that 2021 was going to prove to be a watershed year in the approach of our society to the killing of women by men. The murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa saw an upsurge of media reports on killing of women by men, as well as vigils by the public, and platitudes from politicians and the police that more needed to be and would be done. Yet looking back from the perspective of 2024, we see no material change in tackling men’s violence against women.

Sarah Everard was abducted and murdered on 3 March, her killer Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty on 8 June 2021 and was sentenced on 30 September that same year. In contrast, Michelle Lizanec was killed on 13 February 2021, but her husband John Lizanec, charged with her murder on 16 February, was only convicted and sentenced on the 24 November 2023 – some two years and nine months later. Now all but one 2021 case has gone to trial. The family of Catherine Stewart will have to wait until July 2024 for a conclusion, three years after her death. The long wait for justice some of these families endure is painful, facing the uncertainty of a last-minute change of plea, the prospect of a criminal trial where the defendant protests innocence requiring re-exposure to the often-distressing details of the case or where the character of the victim is called into question.

The lack of evidence of a sea-change in policy interventions towards men’s fatal violence against women by the state is at odds with the activism of family members and those who loved them. As is always the case, those affected most by men’s fatal violence carry the fight to change law and policy.

The parents of Jade Ward killed in August 2021 have campaigned for Jade’s Law, which if passed would remove parental responsibility from fathers who kill the mother of their children. They join the parents of Poppy Devey Waterhouse, Ellie Gould, Chloe Holland , Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, Letisha Precious Shakespeare and Clare Wood; the sisters of Sasha Marsden, Banaz Mahmod and Sabina Nessa; the brother of Julie Pemberton, the niece of Mumtahina Jannat and many more of those bereaved as a result of femicide as agents for change.

Our report, on women killed by men in 2021 is released, just days before a general election. Since the Conservative government came to power in May 2010, the lives of at least 1,924 women have been cut short by men. That’s an average of one woman dead at the hands of a man every 2.7 days. It is vital that the incoming government understands that it is not good enough to leave femicide reform to grieving families and loved ones.

View report

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