International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was celebrated on Friday, 25 November. This marks the start of 16 days’ of activism aimed at preventing and eradicating violence against women and raising awareness and support.

A new report published earlier last week by the United Nations on gender-based homicides paints a devastating picture of the extent of the problem. In 2021, around 45,000 women and girls around the world were killed by someone in their family circle. In the same year, 2,500 domestic femicides were recorded in Europe. These already frightening figures are thought to be much higher, as insufficient data makes it difficult to get a good estimate of a problem that is also present in the public sphere. Between 2010 and 2021, however, Europe saw an average decrease of 19,5 percent in the number of intimate/family-related femicides.

Over the last few years, the topic of femicide has become a major concern of numerous governments such as the European Commission, Spain, seeking to become the first country in Europe to record all incidents of femicide, or Belgium who recently accepted a draft bill regarding the legal classification of femicide. It is clear that initiatives are being taken one other the other. However, they remain greatly insufficient when the absolute scale of the problem is considered.

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