Shocking reality of feminicides in Europe: where does your country stand?
The Alarming Rise of Feminicides in Europe: Latvia Holds a Sad Record, While Spain Implements Special Legislation
Uniformly gathering data on the number of feminicides in the European Union is a challenging task. This is because not all countries classify crimes by gender in the same way, and sometimes they make distinctions between homicides that occur within the family environment or under different circumstances.
For example, only Cyprus classifies the crime as feminicide rather than simply homicide in its Penal Code. Moreover, updated statistics are not always available, which means that the known figure of 3,232 cases of murdered women between 2010 and 2021 does not reflect the situation in eight member states: Poland, Bulgaria, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Romania. This differs from the figure of 6,593 homicides committed by family members, partners, and ex-partners, according to Eurostat.
Beyond the numbers, the situation is not encouraging. Despite the high absolute number of cases in Italy, the country ranks second to last in the weighted classification by the percentage of women killed in relation to the total. Latvia tops this list, with 2.14 feminicides per 100,000 women in 2020, a figure that increases to 4.09 if those perpetrated outside the family environment are included.
Lithuania and Estonia follow, with 22 and 41 cases respectively, in populations of less than 2 million inhabitants, which is significant. Greece has the lowest rate (0.16), closely followed by Sweden, Italy, and Spain, all with a rate of 0.38, below the European average of 0.68. Italy also fares well in the general homicide rate per population, with 0.48, surpassing only Luxembourg (0.32), but still far from the EU’s 0.89.
In absolute terms, Germany holds the sad record, with 225 women killed in 2020. In Italy, in 2022, there were 125 feminicides out of a total of 319 homicides, meaning that the murdered women represent approximately 39% of the total, rising to 91% when considering victims of partners or ex-partners.
How do different countries fare from a legislative perspective? According to the magistrate Valerio de Gioia, advisor to the Court of Appeals and active in the field of gender-based violence, European states are aligned in legislation thanks to international obligations derived from the Istanbul Convention. However, the expected results have not yet been achieved, especially regarding violence or abuse that often occur within households.
Spain is the only country with comprehensive legislation on gender-based violence, approved in 2004 under the Zapatero government. De Gioia hopes that this model will be adopted by other countries, such as Italy with its proposal of the Roccella Law, which will soon be voted on in Parliament. This is considered an essential and necessary step to protect women from violence, both physical and economic.