Number of feminicides ‘stable’ in France in 2022, but number of attempted murders of women rises

The number of women killed by their domestic partners in France decreased slightly in 2022, though official statistics also showed an alarming increase in attempted murders of women by  husbands, ex-husbands or lovers.

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In 2022, 118 women were killed by their partners – four fewer than in 2021 – according to the interior ministry, which published figures over the weekend.

The report was published two days after a man killed his ex-wife with a machete in the street in Savoie, and a week after a man known to authorities for domestic abuse was jailed for allegedly killing his girlfriend in the Val-de-Marne.

While the murder rate was “relatively stable” in 2022, according to the report, there was a 45 percent increase in attempted murders by domestic partners, 366 as opposed to 251 in 2021.

“We can only underline the seriousness” of these crimes, the Minister for the Equality between men and women, Bérangère Couillard, said in a statement, acknowledging the slight decrease in the number women killed, but stressing that “every life counts”.

Murdered even after going to the police

In 2019, the government held seminars to find solutions to domestic violence, and says it has put in place “several measures” to add to existing police protocols in dealing with complaints and addressing violent offenders.

However, the statistics show that nearly a third of the women murdered had previously been victims of domestic violence – 24 of them had alerted the authorities, 19 of whom had filed a formal complaint.

Lawyer Isabelle Steyer, who specialises in domestic violence, says women need the most protection once they have approached the authorities.

“It is when they go through all the procedures that they are even more in danger, because they are denouncing the violence of a particular man,” she told RFI.

“It is at that moment that they run the risk of dying, and it is at that moment that they are not protected.”

She and other women’s rights advocates would like to see men accused of violence forced to wear tracking bracelets even before a complaint is filed.

Of the 118 women killed in 2022, three had judicial protection in place, including restraining orders against their murderers or a special phone to quickly call police.

Attempted feminicides on the rise

A group of advocates that tracks feminicides – murders of women because of their gender – recorded 90 as of 31 August, including the murder in Savoie.

The tally for 2022 was 147 feminicides, because they say they count more than just murders by domestic partners, whereas the there is no specific judicial status for gender-motivated murders.

Murders that occurred between spouses, or domestic partners, represented 18 percent of the 818 non-criminally motivated murders in France in 2022, according to the interior ministry.

Nearly half were committed during an argument, or in the context of a contentious separation, and the vast majority were committed at the home of either the victim or the perpetrator, without premediation.

Parental rights?

Victims rights groups are fighting to end parental rights of men accused of violence. Even those who are incarcerated for violence against their partners can still maintain parental authority, forcing the victim to interact with him.

A father who continues to have visitation rights will “continue to harass” the mother of their children, and even be violent towards her, warns Françoise Brié, the director of the national federation, Solidarités femmes.

“He could make the children suffer to get at his ex-partner,” she told RFI, adding that the suspension of parental rights is not automatic even if the mother was murdered, with some children continuing to live under the authority of the man who killed their father.

Twelve children were also killed within family disputes, victims of infanticides – the same number as in 2021 – according to the interior ministry. Number of feminicides ‘stable’ in France in 2022, but number of attempted murders of women rises

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