Over 100 women are killed each day by a partner or family member, per new UN report

Women and girls bear the greatest burden of intimate partner and family‐related homicide.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

More than 100 women throughout the world are killed every day by someone close to them, like a partner or family member, according to a new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The data marks an increase in the annual number of female deaths by a partner or relative. A total of 87,000 women were murdered in 2017, approximately 50,000 of which, or 137 per day, were killed by partners or family members. In 2012, which was the last time the UN reported statistics on femicide, the number of women killed by partners or family members was 48,000.

While female homicide rates are much lower than male homicide rates, women and girls “bear by far the greatest burden of intimate partner/family‐related homicide, and intimate partner homicide,” the report found. Asia and Africa accounted for the highest number of women killed by someone they know, at 20,000 and 19,000 deaths respectively, followed by the Americas, at 8,000, and Europe, at 3,000.

Accounting for population, however, Africa leads the regions with the greatest risk of femicide by a partner or family member, at a rate of 3.1 per 100,000 women. Europe and Asia are areas where the risk is lowest, at 0.7 and 0.9 respectively. Femicide rates by a partner or family member are also high in the Americas, at 1.6 per 100,000 women.

The UN report comes amid several recent reports of fatal intimate partner violence in the United States over the past few weeks. In Dallas, a man shot and killed his wife in front of her three young children on Thanksgiving Day, despite the fact that she called the police to report him numerous times before.


Last week, a shooter went on a rampage at a Chicago hospital, killing three, including his ex-fiancee, Dr. Tamara O’Neal, who worked in the emergency facility at the Mercy Hospital and Medical Center.

And earlier this fall, a man in Bakersfield, California, shot and killed his wife and four others in a mass shooting that appeared to have roots in domestic abuse.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a majority of mass shootings begin as small domestic disputes, in which the shooter targets a family member or current or former partner.

The recent data also sheds light on the precarious situation of the thousands of women and children who have been, over the past several weeks, traveling from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum. As ThinkProgress reporters Rebekah Entralgo and Luke Barnes previously reported, many are fleeing gang and domestic violence. As the migrant caravan makes its way to the U.S. border, the situation has devolved into chaos, with the Trump administration ordering border police to fire tear gas into the crowd of asylum-seekers, exposing several toddlers and infants to the gas in the process.