More than 1,600 Women Murdered by Men in One Year, New Study Finds

For Release: Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Additional Contact: Julia Wyman
States United to Prevent Gun Violence
401-644-9040

Study ranks the states on the rate of women murdered by men in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October

Washington, DC — More than 1,600 women were murdered by men in 2013 and the most common weapon used was a gun, according to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) study When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data.

This annual VPC report is being released in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. This year’s study applies to 2013, the most recent year for which data is available.

The study also ranks the states on the rate of women murdered by men. In 2013, South Carolina had the highest rate, followed by Alaska, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Nevada. (A list of the 10 states with the highest rates of women murdered by men follows below.)

The study covers homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and uses data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report.

Nationwide, 1,615 females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2013, at a rate of 1.09 per 100,000. The study found that nationwide, 94 percent of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 62 percent were wives or other intimate acquaintances of their killers.

The study also found that black women are disproportionately impacted by fatal domestic violence. In 2013, black females were murdered by men at a rate of 2.36 per 100,000, two and a half times higher than the rate of 0.95 per 100,000 for white women murdered by men.

Nationwide in 2013, out of the 1,615 female homicide victims, 1,086 were white, 453 were black, 36 were Asian or Pacific Islander, 21 were American Indian or Alaskan Native, and in 19 cases the race of the victim was not identified.

“Women are dying every day as a result of domestic violence, and our state and federal laws are insufficient in the face of this crisis,” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “State and federal policymakers should take immediate action to help protect women from abusers and prevent future tragedies. This should include ensuring that men with a history of domestic abuse do not have access to guns.”

“When men murder women, the most common weapon used is a gun,” says Julia Wyman, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence. “Closing gaps in state and federal gun laws will save women’s lives.”

The Violence Policy Center has published When Men Murder Women annually for 18 years. During that period, nationwide the rate of women murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents has dropped 31 percent — from 1.57 per 100,000 in 1996 to 1.09 per 100,000 in 2013.

Below is the complete list of the 10 states with the highest rate of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2013:

wmmmwtop102015

For each of the top 10 states, the study offers a detailed summary including: the number of victims by age group and race; the most common weapons used; the victim to offender relationships; and the circumstances of the homicides.

For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 94 percent of female victims nationwide were murdered by a male they knew. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 62 percent were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders.

Firearms — especially handguns — were the weapons most commonly used by males to murder females in 2013. Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 53 percent of female victims were shot and killed with a gun. Of the homicides committed with guns, 69 percent were killed with handguns.

The overwhelming majority of these homicides were not related to any other felony crime, such as rape or robbery. Nationwide, for homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 85 percent of the homicides were not related to the commission of another felony. Most often, females were killed by males in the course of an argument between the victim and the offender.

The study calculates the rate of women murdered by men by dividing the total number of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents by the total female population and multiplying the result by 100,000. This is the standard and accepted method of comparing fatal levels of gun violence.

The study urges state legislators to adopt laws that enhance enforcement of federal legislation and ensure that guns are surrendered by or removed from the presence of abusers. In addition, the study urges the U.S. Congress to adopt stronger legislation to protect victims of domestic violence, such as: the “Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2015” introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); the “Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act” introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); and, the “Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act” introduced by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Robert Dold (R-IL).

To view the full report, please visit http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2015.pdf.

About the Violence Policy Center

The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

States United to Prevent Gun Violence (www.CeasefireUSA.org) is a national non-profit organization working to support state-based gun violence prevention groups and help build new state-led organizations. States United believes that all Americans deserve to live in a country free from the fear, threat, and devastation caused by gun violence.

Media Contact:
Marty Langley
(202) 822-8200 x109
mlangley@vpc.org