The need for a platform

The Femicide Watch Platform is a joint project of the ACUNS Vienna Femicide Team and the UN Studies Association.

It provides selected, high-quality information and own content produced on the issue of femicide - the gender related killings of women and girls - for policy and decision-makers at all levels, actors from the criminal justice system, practitioners, civil society activists, academics, and individuals concerned with this horrible phenomenon.

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Background:

The UN, and in particular the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences (SRVAW), consider it unacceptable that more than twenty years after the adoption of the Convention of Bélem do Pará, and 35 years after adoption of the CEDAW Convention, women and girls across the world continue to suffer in high numbers extreme forms of psychological, physical and sexual violence and femicide.

According to UNODC, which provided estimates on intimate partner homicides in its report from 2013, of all the women killed in 2012 (93,000 women), an estimated 43,600 (47 per cent) were killed by their family members or intimate partners, whereas 20,000 of all male homicide victims (6 per cent) were killed by such perpetrators.

In order to prevent such cases of femicide and other forms of violence against women, UN Special Rapporteur Dubravka Šimonovic has called for the establishment of national femicide watches or observatories on violence against women. These should collect data and analyse, with the assistance of interdisciplinary review panels, all femicide cases including court decisions in order to identify gaps in the intervention system, criminal justice and criminal procedures system, as well as risk factors to prevent and protect women and girls from those killings. She believes that such mechanisms could be extended to other forms of violence against women, such as rape, sexual violence, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation. Furthermore, she plans to focus on protection orders and codes of conduct for law enforcement agents, health and social workers in the future.

Key needs:

Along with a more recent call to gather good practices on data collection and prevention, the SRVAW’s actions are demonstrating the overarching need for an enhanced exchange of knowledge and views among the various actors involved, from international institutions to national bodies, academia, civil society, and individuals. In response to this need, including repeated calls for more concerted action to prevent femicide, to collect gender-disaggregated data and exchange best practices – all aspects also mentioned in the second UNGA resolution on gender-related killing of women and girls –, the ACUNS Vienna Femicide Team and the UN Studies Association jointly aim to create a centralized, global platform on the issue of femicide/gender-related killings of women and girls. 

Key purposes:

Establish a centralized, global platform on femicide/gender-related killings of women and girls for the broad purpose of

  1. awareness-raising,
  2. provision of key information,
  3. sharing of promising practices.

The “Femicide Watch Platform” will amplify, integrate and complement the work of all UN entities and agencies next to that of other relevant organisations that focus on combating and preventing femicide: first and foremost, UN OHCHR / the SRVAW, UNODC, UN Women, the EU and the OSCE. The project is to develop incrementally; its aim is, however, to cover the phenomenon on the global level.

Scope of services / Objectives:

The Femicide Watch Platform, a prototype of which was presented and launched in May 2017 on the occasion of the 26th session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (22-26 May, 2017), will provide

  • direct access to experts and practitioners from around the world and across disciplines
  • key information on femicide (core definitions, facts, figures, statistics)
  • recommendations issued by relevant stakeholders
  • landmark documents issued by key partners/major players
  • an interactive knowledge base of good practices (actions and measures) in multiple areas
  • last but not least, own content such as case dossiers and a timeline.

Experts and stakeholders will be invited to submit practices which will then be reviewed and annotated by an Editorial Team with the explicit aim to provide additional context and ensure quality. All platform content is expected to serve as primary models and reference points for action.

Ultimately, the platform seeks to empower all stakeholders to gain a more comprehensive overview, identify gaps and blind spots, and transfer knowledge across regions, borders, levels, and disciplines. They are expected to learn from each other, take collective action and improve (existing) preventive measures.