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Killings of women and girls by their intimate partner or other family members - Global estimates 2020

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KEY FINDINGS

• Some 47,000 women and girls worldwide were killed by their intimate partners or other family members in 2020. This means that, on average, a woman or girl is killed by someone in her own family every 11 minutes.

• Women and girls in all regions across the world are affected by this type of gender-based violence.
With an estimated 18,600 victims, Asia is the region with the highest number of victims in absolute terms, while Africa is the region with the highest level relative to the size of its female population.

• Accounting 80 per cent of the total, the vast majority of all homicide victims worldwide in 2020 were men or boys, but the sex composition of homicide victims differs markedly depending on the context.
Women and girls account for only one tenth of all homicide victims perpetrated in the public sphere, yet they bear a disproportionate burden of lethal violence perpetrated in the home: in 58 per cent of all killings perpetrated by intimate partners or other family members, the victim was a woman or girl.

• National trends in gender-related killings of women and girls are often volatile. On average, Europe has witnessed a 13 per cent decline in gender-related killings of women and girls in the private sphere over the past decade, while the Americas has seen an increase of 9 per cent, although these averages mask contrasting trends between the countries and subregions within those two regions. Due to the limited availability of data, it is not yet possible to identify time trends in gender-related killings in other regions.

• Lethal violence experienced by women and girls in the private sphere appears to be a more intractable problem than killings of women and girls outside the home. Eastern Europe has witnessed a reduction of 47 per cent in female homicides perpetrated outside the home over the past decade, while female homicides perpetrated by intimate partners or other family members have seen a reduction of 15 per cent over the same period. Although less marked, similar trends have also been recorded in Western Europe and South America.

• Global data on the impact of COVID-19 confinement measures on gender-related killings of women and girls remain patchy and inconclusive. The average annual number of these killings showed an increase of 11 per cent from 2019 to 2020 in Western and of 5 per cent in Southern Europe. No change was detectable in Northern Europe and there was a slight decrease in Eastern Europe. By comparison, in Northern America the number of gender-related killings of women and girls increased by 8 per cent, in Central America by 3 per cent and in South America by 5 per cent. These increases were of a similar magnitude to previous annual changes recorded in the past decade.

• At the national level, monthly data from a limited number of countries covering the period October 2019 to December 2020 show high variability in trends across countries, but suggest that, overall, female intimate partner/family-related homicides remained relatively unaffected by the lockdowns in those countries.