- Based on various sources, it is accurate to say that am average of three women are killed by men each week in the UK
- Official data indicates that 22.9% of all women in England and Wales has been the victim of rape or sexual assault in their lifetime
- Given population sizes, it is reasonable to assume this is a fair representation of the percentage in the UK as a whole
On 11 January, Alliance MLA Kate Nicholl tweeted:
“In a society where 3 women are killed each week by a men and 1 in 4 women are raped or sexually assaulted, misogyny is endemic.”
Ms Nicholl made two specific claims: one about the number of women killed by men, the other about the proportion of women who have been the victims of a sexual crime.
If we consider “society” to mean the UK – rather than Northern Ireland – the claim about killings is backed up by various sources of evidence.
Official data indicates the proportion of women in the UK who have been raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime is 22.9%, which is approximately one in four.
Various sources are available with information relevant to Ms Nicholl’s claim that an average of three women are killed each week by men.
The Femicide Census has tracked information about women killed by men in the UK since 2009. Its ten-year report – UK Femicides 2009-2018 – found that, in the decade to the end of 2018, a total of 1,425 women had been killed by men.
That is an average of 142.5 women killed each year – or around 2.7 killed every week.
For more recent data, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that, for the year ending March 2021, a total of 177 women were killed in England and Wales. The report also states:
“For those female victims where a suspect had been charged, 92% (109) of those suspects were male.”
Those 109 killings average out at just over two per week. However, considering the 59 cases where, as yet, no principal suspect has been recorded – if 47 of those deaths were committed by men (82%) that would result in a weekly average of three women being killed by men.
Given that, for 92% of the killings that have a principal suspect, that suspect is male, this is a reasonable estimate. Furthermore, unlike the data compiled by the Femicide Census, the ONS data only covers England and Wales. When also considering Scotland and Northern Ireland, this figure will only be adjusted upwards.
Overall, Ms Nicholl’s claim about the number of women who are killed by men is supported by evidence.
The ONS reported that in England and Wales 22.9% of women have been raped or sexually assaulted as an adult.
These statistics are based on data for the year ending March 2020 from the Crime Survey for England and Wales. This is the most recent data of this kind published by the ONS. The data says that an estimated 4.9 million women aged between 16 and 74 have been the victim of a sexual offence at some point in their life,
This is approximately one in four women – although it is worth noting that the Westminster government described this as one in five women in its November 2021 policy paper, Tackling violence against women and girls strategy. That paper cites the ONS data above, saying:
“The most recent statistics show that 1 in 5 women are victims of sexual assault (or attempted assault) in their lifetime (5% of victims are men), over 27% of women had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16 (14% of men), and 20% of women aged 16-74 had experienced stalking since the age of 16 (10% of men).”
However, 22.9% is closer to one in four than one in five (it equals approximately 1/4.36681).
As almost 90% of the UK population lives in England or Wales, these figures can be used as a good approximation for UK figures overall.
Based on all this evidence, it is fair to say that one in four UK women has been a victim of rape or sexual assault.