UNODC-Global Study

UNODC Global Study on Homicide 2019: Gender-related killings of women and girls

Booklet 5 of Global Study on Homicide


The Global Study on Homicide brings together available data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to shed light on gender-related killings in this booklet. This landmark study, first released for the 2018 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, examines available homicide data to analyse the gender-related killing of women and girls, with a specific focus on intimate partner and family-related homicide and how this relates to the status and roles of women in society and the domestic sphere. 

The study was re-published in Summer 2019 as booklet 5 of a series of 6 booklets constituting the 2019 Global Study on Homicide.

The contents include: an introduction to the concept of gender-related killings of women and girls, key findings, the scale of intimate partner homicides, definitions, perpetrators of intimate partner killings, links between non-lethal and lethal violence, and policy responses to gender-related killings of women and girls. 

Data basis (p. 7)

The data presented in this booklet are based on homicide statistics produced by national statistical systems in which the relationship between the victim and perpetrator and/or the motive are reported. While the disaggregation of homicide data at the country level has improved over the years, regional and global estimates are based on a limited number of countries, with Africa and Asia accounting for most of the gaps.

Key findings and figures (p. 10 & 11)

  1. Killings by intimate partners or family members 2017: A total of 87,000 women were intentionally killed in 2017. More than half of them (58 per cent)  ̶  50,000  ̶  were killed by intimate partners or family members. This means that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day. This amounts to some six women being killed every hour by people they know. 
  2. Killings by intimate partners 2017: More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner  ̶  someone they would normally expect to trust.
  3. Comparison with 2012: Based on revised data, the estimated number of women killed by intimate partners or family members in 2012 was 48,000 (47 per cent of all female homicide victims). The annual number of female deaths worldwide resulting from intimate partner/family-related homicide therefore seems be on the increase.
  4. Killings by region: The largest number (20,000) of all women killed worldwide by intimate partners or family members in 2017 was in Asia, followed by Africa (19,000), the Americas (8,000) Europe (3,000) and Oceania (300). However, with an intimate partner/family-related homicide rate of 3.1 per 100,000 female population, Africa is the region where women run the greatest risk of being killed by their intimate partner or family members, while Europe (0.7 per 100,000 population) is the region where the risk is lowest. The intimate partner/family-related homicide rate was also high in the Americas in 2017, at 1.6 per 100,000 female population, as well as Oceania, at 1.3, and Asia, at 0.9.
  5. Shares of female vs. male victimes: The disparity between the shares of male and female victims of homicide perpetrated exclusively by an intimate partner is substantially larger than of victims of homicide perpetrated by intimate partners or family members: roughly 82 per cent female victims versus 18 percent male victims.
“Femicide” represents just a small percentage of the overall number of homicides, but our analysis indicates that the drivers of this type of lethal violence require tailored responses. Killings carried out by intimate partners are rarely spontaneous or random, and should be examined as an extreme act on a continuum of gender-related violence that remains underreported and too often ignored.




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