Young women most at risk of murder or rape, data shows

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In light of the Sarah Everard case and recent public discourse on women’s safety, NimbleFins has compiled a fresh data study on violence against women in the UK. National statistics show that 1 in 4 homicides includes a female victim, and women aged 25 to 34 are most at risk of being murdered. Domestic violence affects women more than assaults committed by strangers, as a staggering 29% of women in the UK have experienced violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lives.
Female homicide victims, by age
I’ve listed the key findings for a quick overview below. See our full studies on Violence Against Women and the related Google Search trends for more details, or reply back with your questions. We’d be happy to put together a story for you as well.
Key findings on homicides:
  • Women aged 25 to 34 are most at risk of being murdered, with murder rates steadily dropping for older women.
  • Homicides affect women less, as around 1 in 4 homicides included a female victim in 2020. From 2010 to 2020, male homicides increased by 26.8% while female homicides dropped 2.6%.
  • Women are most likely to be murdered in a residential setting. 71% of female homicides occur in or around a house. Men are half as likely to be murdered at a home when compared to women (36%). Men are mostly murdered in public places, in particular on a street, footpath or alleyway (38%).
  • Women are most often killed by sharp instruments (27%), followed by strangulation/asphyxiation (16%), hitting/kicking (11%) and blunt instruments (10%). In contrast, nearly half of male homicides are by sharp instruments like knives (44%), with hitting/kicking without weapons falling second (11%).
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Risk of assault by UK region

Violence against women by country

Key findings on domestic violence and sexual assault:

  • In the UK, 29% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner at some time in their life. That’s compared to around 20% in Italy, Greece and Russia, 13% in Spain, and 1.9% in Canada. Women in the US fare worse, with a whopping 35.6% of women experiencing physical or sexual violence from a partner at least once.
  • Estimates show only 18% of rapes or assaults by penetration (including attempts) get reported to the police. According to the most recent data, 26,464 female rape cases were reported in 2017 out of 144,000 estimated that year.
  • The age group most commonly affected by sexual assault is 16 to 19 year olds. Full-time students are affected the most – nearly 1 in 10 were victims of sexual assault (9.8%) and nearly 1 in 20 were victims of rape or attempted rape (4.4%).
  • Women in the North East are most at risk, with 5.5% being the victim of some form of sexual assault (including attempts) in the year ending March 2017. The region with the lowest rate of sexual assault against women is Yorkshire and the Humber.
  • In rape cases, 45% of the offenders are partners or ex-partners, and another 38% are other people known to the victim.

Google Trends Self Defence

What Google Search data tells us
  • Interest in self-defence has spiked since Everard went missing, reaching peak interest on 12 March.
  • Searches for “self defence spray” have surged by 450% in popularity, and “pepper spray” by 200%.
  • Google searches for “How to protect women” also saw an uptick on 12 March.
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