Most Female Murder Victims Worldwide Killed by Partners or Family: UN

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Sign at a Washington, DC rally in 2013. Photo by Elvert Barnes via Flickr

About 58 percent of women killed worldwide last year were the victims of intimate partners or family members, according to a new report by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The study examined available homicide data and analyzed the gender-related killing of women and girls, with a specific focus on intimate partner and family-related homicide.


Cover of UNODC Report on “Gender-Related Killing of Women and Girls”

About 50,000 women were killed by intimate partners and family members, the study said.

Women in Africa are most at risk of being killed by intimate partners or family members. On the continent, the rate was around 3.1 victims per 100,00 female population, according to the report.

Women in the Americas were the second most at risk, with the rate being 1.6 victims per 100 female population.

Yury Fedotov, UNODC executive director, called for targeted responses to prevent and end gender-related killings.

“While the vast majority of homicide victims are men, women continue to pay the highest price as a result of gender inequality, discrimination and negative stereotypes,” Fedotov said in a press release accompanying the report.

The study called for more effective cooperation among police, the justice system, and health and social services. It also emphasizes the importance of involving men in the solution, including through early education.

Violence against women is widely underreported to authorities, according to the report, and domestic violence against women can be seen as a continuum, ranging from slaps, punches and kicks, to assaults with a weapon with homicide being the culmination of prior gender-based violence.

This month Dr. Tamara O’Neal, an emergency room physician at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, was shot to death along with two bystanders by her ex-fiancé.

Community advocates and practitioners have argued that, despite the prevalence of intimate partner violence across all economic and ethnic groups, the media and public officials rarely identified it as a public health challenge.

The study was officially released on Nov. 25, timed to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The copy of the full report can be downloaded here.

J. Gabriel Ware is a TCR News Intern.

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