By Lin Taylor
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nearly two thirds of the British women killed by men over a seven-year period were murdered by current or former partners, most of them within the first year of leaving their husbands and boyfriends, women's rights charities said on Wednesday.
Between 2009 and 2015, 936 women across England and Wales were killed by men, with nearly 600 women dying at the hands of current or former partners, according to the Femicide Census commissioned by domestic abuse charities nia and Women's Aid.
Of that number, over three-quarters were murdered within a year of separating from their partners, say the charities calling for the police to do more to protect women who have left violent partners.
"It is very shocking that a very high proportion of women being killed are killed by an intimate partner or an ex-partner," said Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid.
"There's a pattern here. But at the moment, all these cases are reported very much as isolated incidents. And the lessons just aren't being learnt," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Worldwide, one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a man in their lifetime, the World Health Organisation says.
Neate said femicide rates in England and Wales have remained consistent over the past few years, despite an independent 2014 report by a policing watchdog which criticized the police response to domestic abuse victims.
The Femicide Census, which collects data from police statistics, Freedom of Information requests, newspaper stories and charity reports, showed that 125 women were killed by men in 2009 and 119 in 2015.
Over the past seven years, eight percent of women were killed by their sons.
One in four women recorded in the census was killed by someone unrelated to them, for example a colleague, client or neighbor.
Of all the females who died after being sexually attacked, a third were killed by a stranger.
"We're just not working as hard as we could to prevent women being killed," Neate said.
(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, global land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, women's rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories)