Today the femicide census for 2018 was published showing that the number of women killed by men has gone up and that 61% of victims were killed by a partner or ex-partner.
Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, said:
“It is frightening that the number of women killed in our society is increasing and we must take action now to better understand this criminality. In particular, it is deeply troubling that 61% of these women victims were killed by their partner or ex-partner. We have known about the escalating nature of domestic abuse for many years now. If it is not stopped at an early stage it gets worse and worse. In the name of these women we need urgently to take more action on early intervention.
“Police and the criminal justice agencies must understand that when someone tries to escape from domestic abuse, by calling the police and agreeing to go to court, they put themselves in additional danger because the perpetrator see that their grip is starting to slip and escalates violence to try to regain it. It is shocking that this is so little understood that when a domestic abuse complainant does not attend court, no inquiry is usually made. The court simply dismisses the case, often in the face of requests by the CPS to adjourn. An understanding of this additional danger ought to lead courts adjourn, just once, for the police to find out if the complainant is safe. That point is re-emphasised here by the fact that 41% of the women killed by their partner or ex-partner had left him already or were taking steps to separate when they were killed.
“The Domestic Abuse Bill, which is due to return to Parliament before Easter, must be seen as an opportunity to tackle this long-standing issue once and for all. It needs to ensure that all reports of domestic abuse are taken seriously from the start and there should be a major promotional campaign to help everybody to be able to recognise the symptoms. This is the only way to ensure that more women again next year are not left at risk of having their life cut short by their abuser.”