More than 60% of female killings in the UK are at the hands of a male partner or ex

More than half of women who were killed by men in the UK in 2018 lost their lives at the hands of a current or former partner, a new report has revealed.

The fourth Femicide Census, conducted by campaigner Karen Ingala Smith, found that149 women were killed by 147 men in 2018 - the highest number since the census began, marking an increase of 10 deaths since the previous year.

What is femicide?

Femicide is generally defined as the murder of women.

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According to the latest figures, 91 women (61 per cent) who were killed in 2018 were murdered by their current or former partner.

Out of the 58 who were not killed by their current or former partners, 12 of these women were murdered by their sons or stepsons, while five were killed by a son-in-law or former son-in-law.

The report also highlights that in more than half of cases (52 per cent) the perpetrator had previously been violent to women, with three men having killed before.

The most common method of murder was a sharp instrument, followed by strangulation or asphyxiation, and by the use of a blunt instrument. In 68 per cent of cases, the killings took place in or immediately around the woman’s home.


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In 58 per cent of cases overkilling was prevalent, meaning there was excessive, gratuitous violence beyond that necessary to cause the victim’s death.

Commenting on the findings, Ingala Smith, Co-founder of The Femicide Census said: "For every woman killed there are thousands of women living in violent, controlling and abusive relationships.

"The closure and under-resourcing of specialist women-only services and refuges and of public services means that even where women may want to leave, they may struggle to find the help, support and safety they need and to which they are entitled.”

Anyone worried about their relationship or that of a friend or family member, can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit

The report is dedicated to the women and girls aged 14 years and over who were killed by men in the UK in 2018. (Photo: Femicide Census)