In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Femicide

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Journals
  • Special Journal Issues and Volumes
  • Books and Anthologies
  • Country-Specific Patterns and Trends
  • Representation of Femicide
  • Critiques of Femicide
  • Special Mentions

Criminology Femicide
Myrna Dawson, Michelle Carrigan, Emily Hill
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 September 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0270


On November 26, 2012, the Vienna Declaration on Femicide was signed by participants at a one-day symposium convened by the Academic Council on United Nations System (ACUNS). This symbolic event comes more than forty years after Diana Russell first used the term testifying at the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women. Since the mid-1970s, there has been periodic and important research on femicide; however, since mid-2000, there has been an obvious increase in grassroots, academic, and government attention. In part, this is due to efforts of those concerned about high femicide rates in some countries, leading to legislative efforts and initiatives to better respond to femicide. This has also led to use of the term “feminicide” (or feminicidio) by some to highlight the impunity with which these crimes are often treated in some parts of the world (e.g., Latin America) or when perpetrated against some groups of women (e.g., Indigenous women, poor women, sex-trade workers). Increasing attention to femicide has led to discussions about how to define and classify femicide; what we currently know about its prevalence and characteristics of those involved; how to document it more accurately; how countries can better prevent femicide, particularly for some groups; what punishments are appropriate; and whether and how states are contributing to the problem with inadequate responses. The research highlighted in this bibliography adheres to Russell’s definition of femicide as “the killing of one or more females by one or more males because they are female,” or killings motivated by hatred and unequal power relations between men and women. It also includes research encompassing the more recent concept of feminicide which captures the complicity of the state or governments in contributing to these killings. Therefore, this bibliography includes only articles, books, and other publications that use the terms “femicide” or “feminicide” explicitly in the title or abstract. While this decision excludes important work that arguably captures killings of women by men because they are women, it underscores the importance of using terms that directly name the phenomenon rather than using more gender-neutral terms (e.g., intimate partner, domestic or family homicide). Given the burgeoning literature in the recent decade on these latter phenomena, it also provides parameters that made article selection more focused and manageable. While numerous countries are represented below, some world regions are more active in researching and addressing femicide/feminicide. Many disciplines are seeking to better understand, document, and respond to these killings as shown by the Journals in which research has been published, ranging from the expected—sociology, law, criminology—to the less expected, such as gynaecology and obstetrics, and pediatrics, underscoring the multidisciplinary foci required to adequately understand femicide. Regardless of world region or discipline, the research below represents key works and recent and innovative approaches to the study of femicide/feminicide. The field is rapidly expanding, however, with new publications appearing frequently. This bibliography provides a sample of what is available.

General Overviews

The majority of academic and international reports that provide an overview of femicide, particularly as phenomenon that warrants international attention, have been published quite recently (since 2008). The 2008 conference report produced by the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) can arguably be seen as the precursor to what is now a rapidly evolving community of international researchers—academics, government, and nonprofits—that focus on femicide victims, the perpetrators, and social and legal responses to these crimes. More recently, the international report Laurent, et al. 2013 provides an international overview of femicide, demonstrating that femicide has become an important human rights issue as well as a research priority. Representing the culmination of efforts by grassroots organizations in Latin America, where some of the highest femicide/feminicide rates have been documented, is Sarmiento, et al. 2014, which provides detailed coverage of this phenomenon and a proposed blueprint for how the legal system can more effectively investigate and respond to femicide. Finally, showing femicide as a long-standing key focus of academic study for many, research resulted in femicide being the focus of a second special issue almost two decades later in Current Sociology in which Marcuello-Servós, et al. 2016 and Weil 2016 provided overviews of this phenomenon, arguing, respectively, that femicide needs to be made more visible as a subject worthy of research attention and represents a social challenge for various sectors of society.

  • Laurent, C., M. Platzer, and M. Idomir. 2013. Femicide: A global issue that demands action. Vol. 2. Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS). Vienna Liaison Office.

    This report is the product of a United Nations femicide symposium bringing together a diverse group of actors resulting in a global overview of femicide. The report also aims to solidify an international commitment to combating femicide and discusses best practices for reducing violence against women and femicide. Options discussed included developing relevant legislation, sensitivity training for police, increased services for women, and education for men to combat misogyny.

  • Marcuello-Servós, C., C. Corradi, S. Weil, and S. Boira. 2016. Femicide: A social challenge. In Special issue: Femicide. Edited by C. Corradi, C. Marcuello-Servós, S. Boira, and S. Weil. Current Sociology 64.7: 967–974.

    DOI: 10.1177/0011392116639358

    This article introduces the international issue of femicide, naming it the most extreme form of violence. Femicide differs from male homicide because gender inequality is a contributing factor and killings more often involve intimacy. The authors cover theories, justice responses, activism, and Risk Factors, highlighting the need to raise the visibility of femicide. The article argues that defining femicide is integral to formulating policies and strategies to end femicide. Available online by subscription or purchase.

  • Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH). 2008. Strengthening understanding of femicide: Using research to galvanize action and accountability. Seattle, WA: PATH and WHO.

    This report summarizes the findings of a femicide conference in which researchers, activists, and forensic professionals from thirteen countries came together with the aim of strengthening research and promoting global femicide prevention. Panels and presentations focused on topics such as patterns and Risk Factors for femicide, state responsibilities, interventions, and the measurement of femicide. The reports highlighted the need for additional research and enhanced data collection.

  • Sarmiento, C. B., M. L. Acosta, F. Roth, and M. Zambrano. 2014. Latin American model protocol for the investigation of gender-related killings of women (femicide/feminicide). Regional Office for Central America of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Women.

    This tool promotes a gendered approach to the investigation of femicide and documents guidelines and best practices for investigators. The authors begin by defining femicide, its circumstances, and risk factors. Next, the obligations of states to protect, prevent, and punish are outlined based on national frameworks and international law. Recommendations are presented on how to tackle femicide, investigate cases, and ensure the rights of victims, families, and witnesses.

  • Weil, S. 2016. Making femicide visible. In Special issue: Femicide. Edited by C. Corradi, C. Marcuello-Servós, S. Boira, and S. Weil. Current Sociology 64.7: 1124–1137.

    DOI: 10.1177/0011392115623602

    This paper calls attention to the phenomenon of femicide, its invisibility as an issue, and the dearth of sociological research on the topic. The author examines definitions and typologies and explores several hypotheses as to why femicide is understudied. The author argues that femicide is worth studying and, to expand its visibility, suggests more advocacy efforts, qualitative studies, national femicide databases, and standardized international measures of femicide. Available online by subscription or purchase.

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