Twice as many women killed by men during Covid lockdown, charity reveals

Over the past decade, 1,425 women have been murdered in the UK.  

That’s roughly one woman every three days.

A terrible statistic that hasn’t changed in the past ten years despite a welcome fall in violent crime as a whole. 

It’s a chilling equation and the reason why the Counting Dead Women project exists.  

The Femicide Census is a groundbreaking report analysing the killing of women, aged 14-100, at the hands of men from 2009 to 2018. Right now its needed more than ever.

Its authors recently have found that over the first few weeks of lockdown in the spring domestic homicide rates were three times higher than usual.  

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics also show a spike in domestic abuse since Covid restrictions were imposed, accounting for around one in five crimes recorded in the four months since March. That’s 7% more than the same period last year.  

Over the decade examined by the Census, 62% of the dead women were killed by their partner or ex, mostly in their own homes.  

A third of the women had reported their abuse to the police but still died at the hands of their abuser.  

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics also show a big increase in domestic abuse since Covid restrictions were first imposed, accounting for around one in five crimes recorded in the four months from March - up 7% on the same period last year.

And Counting Dead Women has found twice as many woman were killed by men in the first few weeks of lockdown.

Carole with her daughter, Ellie.

Now two women whose own young daughters were killed by former partners are campaigning to change the law.  

Ellie Gould, 17, was killed at her home in Calne, Wiltshire, after she ended her relationship. Her mother, Carole Gould, told ITV News: "She was so bubbly, always had a smile on her face." She describes the horrific way her young daughter was killed.

"He strangled her, until she fell unconscious on to the kitchen floor. And then he picked up a knife... and stabbed her 13 times in the neck." Ellie's killer got just 12 years - but Carole had been warned to expect that by Julie, who got in touch to tell her what happened when her own daughter was killed by her boyfriend.

Julie Devey lost her daughter, Poppy, to domestic violence. Credit: ITV News

Poppy was a gifted maths graduate, who had just told him she was moving out. Julie Devey, Poppy's mother, said: "He went and got a knife and stabbed her in her bed. She tried to get away, and he continued his violent assault. "And there were 23 stab wounds, including 49 knife wounds altogether, including 100 injuries." Both bereaved mother's are campaigning for a change in the law.

"It's not right they are treated so differently," Carole said.

"You could have a drugs feud in the street and somebody stab somebody once in the back. And yes that it heinous enough. But our girls went through the most brutal violent murder and yet that seems to be ignored."

One woman is killed every three days in the UK. Credit: ITV News

The Census draws some damning conclusions about patterns of violence and abuse that the authorities should have spotted Most women who are murdered are stabbed and yet government and police knife crime strategies largely focus on gang crime. “Patterns of male violence are persistent and enduring” reads the report, despite greater public awareness, changes to the law and better training for police.

In a statement, the Home Office said: "We are acutely aware that for some people home is not a safe place.

"That is why we are taking action to better protect victims, bring perpetrators to justice, and learn from deaths to prevent future tragedies."

The Ministry of Justice also issued a statement in response to our report, it said: "We are reforming sentencing through new legislation which will be brought next year, including measures which reduce the gap between the sentencing of older children and young adults for murder.

"It is for independent judges to decide the minimum period that must be served, based on the specific circumstances of a case."