THE United Nations reported an increase in women-related killings globally, but saw a decline in female homicide victims in the Philippines from 2010 to 2019.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime 2022 report on Gender-related killings of women and girls said that on average, more than five women or girls were killed every hour in 2021 by their relatives.
The agency reported that some 45,000, or around 56 percent of the 81,000 women and girls who were killed “intentionally,” died at the hands of their intimate partners or other family members.
“Behind every femicide statistic is the story of an individual woman or girl who has been failed. These deaths are preventable – the tools and the knowledge to do so already exist,” said Sima Bahous, Executive Director at UN Women, in a statement.
The UN also said 11 percent of the killings of women reported took place in the private sphere, revealing that “home is not a safe place for many women and girls.”
“The report is a horrific reminder that violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive human rights violations worldwide,:” it said.
It said the overall number of female homicides has remained largely unchanged over the past decade, which speaks of the urgent need for stronger action on prevention and response.
But it also noted that in the Philippines and in some other countries in Asia, the number of women killed has declined.
UN data showed that the number of killings of women in the Philippines consistently declined from 2010 to 2019, relative to the baseline.
It said trend data on female homicide victims from populous Asian countries such as Turkey and the Philippines showed reductions since 2010.
“Taken together, the available trend data therefore suggest that the situation for women and girls might be improving, particularly in Asia,” it said.
The latest tally from the Philippine National Police showed that about 149 women-related crimes were recorded nationwide from July 1 to August 31 this year. These are predominantly rape cases, primarily from the National Capital Region (NCR). Acts of lasciviousness and violations of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children (VAWC) Act of 2004 were other frequently reported cases.
The VAWC law seeks to address violence against women and their children by intimate partners such a husband or ex-husband, live-in partner or previous live-in partner, boyfriend/girlfriend or ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend, dating partner or past dating partner.
In 2021, Asia had the highest number of gender-related deaths in the home. In Africa, women and girls were more likely to be murdered by intimate partners or other family members.
Last year, it was estimated that the rate of these killings in Africa was 2.5 per 100,000 women in the continent’s female population. The rate was 1.4 in Oceania, 1.2 in Europe, 0.8 in Asia, and 0.6 in Europe, according to the report.
The UN statistics also indicate that a marked increase in gender-related killings in the private sphere occurred during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
German-based consumer and market data company Statista reported that in 2021, the Philippines registered approximately 8,000 incidences of abuse against women and children. However, the violence data in the country was reportedly dropping for six years, according to Statista.
In July, the Commission on Human Rights condemned the spate of sexual assaults and killings of Filipino female minors, but the national police force assured the public that the authorities would investigate the incidents.
To date, some of the women’s killings remain unsolved.
According to the UN, preventative strategies such as early identification of women who have been victims of abuse and the provision of support and safety services with a focus on the victim are needed to address the killings of women.
Other suggestions focus on tackling the underlying issues, such as eradicating systemic gender inequality and harmful masculinities and social norms. Intensifying data collection on femicides is also a “critical step” to inform related policies and programs, according to the UN.
“Now we need the concerted action across society that will fulfil women’s and girls’ right to feel and to be safe, at home, on the streets, and everywhere,” Bahous said.