Charity warns intimate partners convicted of killing women serve shorter sentences

The organisation says 'stranger danger’ fears are largely unfounded when it comes to female murders

Charity warns intimate partners convicted of killing women serve shorter sentences

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A leading domestic violence organisation has warned that 88% of women murdered in Ireland are killed by a man they know.

Women’s Aid has launched its Femicide Watch 2017 report – warning that ‘stranger danger’ fears are largely unfounded when it comes to female murders.

The charity has been charting violent deaths involving female victims since 1996.

The report notes that eight women died violently in 2017 – with six of them killed in their own homes.

Overall, 216 women have been murdered since the project began – an average of ten every year.

A total of 16 children have died alongside their mothers.

It said that, on average, intimate partners who are convicted of manslaughter are likely to serve almost three years less in prison than other men who kill women.

As a result Women's Aid has called for relationship intimacy to be considered an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing for violent domestic crimes moving forward.

The charity said 56% of the murders were perpetrated by current or former partners – with 63% of female victims killed in their own homes. 

Women's Aid director Margaret Martin said the report dispels the belief that women are at high risk from ‘stranger danger':

“12% of all of the women who were killed, were killed by a stranger,” she said.

“So that message that is given to us from the time that we are very young girls, about stranger danger and the danger being on the street in terms of being killed etc is not true.

“I think what we need to do is to build an awareness campaign around that.”

Women's Aid launched the report today at a special seminar – with the International Day Opposing Violence against Women due to be observed tomorrow.

The organisation has set out a series of challenges to government aimed at improving the safety of women and children.

The proposed measures include:

  • The introduction of domestic homicide reviews
  • Greater recognition of the risk to women and children’s well-being
  • The introduction of multi-agency risk assessment

Anyone affected by any of the issues discussed in this article can contact the Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900