The term femicide means the killing of women and girls on account of their gender, perpetrated or tolerated by both private and public actors. It covers, inter alia, the murder of a woman as a result of intimate partner violence, the torture and misogynistic slaying of women, the killing of women and girls in the name of so-called honour and other harmful-practice-related killings, the targeted killing of women and girls in the context of armed conflict, and cases of femicide connected with gangs, organised crime, drug dealers and trafficking in women and girls.
The term ‘femicide’ (femicidio) was particularly embraced in Latin America as a useful tool in response to an alarming escalation of very violent murders of women and girls. In parallel, the word feminicidio was introduced in order to capture the element of impunity and institutional violence, owing to a lack of accountability and adequate response on the part of the state when such killings occur. This term is used when state accountability is at stake.
The killing of a woman by an intimate partner and the death of a woman as a result of a practice that is harmful to women. Intimate partner is understood as a former or current spouse or partner, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim.
Swiss Center of Expertise in Human Rights – SCHR. Women’s Human Rights’ App. Based on the Declaration of the Vienna Symposium on Femicide, November 2012. Available at: http://www.womenshumanrigjhts.ch/overview.html
European Institute for Gender Equality (2017). Glossary of definitions of rape, femicide and intimate partner violence. See a list of Member State definitions here.