Africa: 47,000 Women, Girls Killed By Partners, Family Members in 2020 - Africa Tops List - UN

25 November 2021

Africa remains the region with the highest rate of killings of women and girls by an intimate partner or a family member with 2.7 victims per 100,000 inhabitants.

Globally 81,000 women and girls were killed in 2020, and around 47,000 of them (58 per cent) died at the hands of an intimate partner or a family member, which equals to a woman or girl being killed every 11 minutes in their home.

This is according to data published today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The research brief, released Thursday on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, is based on data from 95 countries on gender-related killings of women and girls by intimate partners or family members.

"Although eight out of 10 of all homicide victims are men or boys, women and girls are the primary victims of lethal violence at home in every part of the world, accounting for six out of 10 killings committed by intimate partners or other family members," said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly.

"UNODC research shows that the situation has not improved over the past decade, even in places where lethal violence has decreased overall. Urgent and targeted action is needed to empower and protect women and girls, to prevent gender-based violence and save lives."

Africa remains the region with the highest rate of killings of women and girls by an intimate partner or a family member with 2.7 victims per 100,000 inhabitants.

Global data on the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on gender-related killings on women and girls remain patchy and inconclusive. Between 2019 and 2020, the average annual number of these killings showed a slight increase in both Europe and the Americas, with differences in the various regions. These changes, however, were similar in size to previous annual changes recorded in the past decade.

The number of gender-related killings between 2019 and 2020 has increased in Western Europe by 11 per cent, while a slighter increase was recorded in Southern Europe with five per cent. In comparison, in Northern America the numbers have increased by eight per cent, in Central America by three per cent, while data from South America shows an increase of five per cent. According to the research brief, the numbers in Northern Europe have not changed during the examined period, while a slight decrease of minus five per cent could be noted in Eastern Europe.

Monthly data on women and girls killed by intimate partners or family members received from 14 countries from different regions around the globe show high variability in trends across countries throughout the various waves of COVID-related mobility restrictions in 2020.

The UNODC said it focused on the killing of women and girls at the hands of intimate partners or other family members because such killings, by people they would normally trust, represents one of the most extreme manifestations of gender- based violence.

"Such killings are often the culmination of prior experiences of gender-based violence, which can include psychological, sexual and physical abuse," it said.

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