Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice & Accountability


One woman or girl is killed every 2.5 days in Canada, mostly by men – a figure that has changed little over four decades – and a woman is murdered by her male partner once a week. The risk of femicide for women and girls is not evenly distributed, however; for example, the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls has been described as “one of Canada’s most shameful realities”.(1) The Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA) was launched on Dec. 6, 2017 – Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action for Violence Against Women.(2) Its primary goals are to establish a visible, national focus on femicide and its prevention in Canada and to contribute to a growing global dialogue and social movement to address gender-related killings of women and girls (Dawson et al. 2019a).

A bilingual initiative, the CFOJA builds on over two decades of femicide research in Canada and responds to the ongoing call from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women for countries to establish femicide watches/ observatories (ACUNS 2017a). (3) The core objectives of the CFOJA are: (1) to track cases of femicide as they occur in Canada and retrospectively while remembering each woman and girl; (2) to examine social and state responses (e.g. the media and the criminal justice system) that may exacerbate the marginalization and vulnerability of women and girls; and, (3) to facilitate the exchange of information, reliable data and current knowledge to advance legislative, policy and program change on femicide prevention from the local to the global. A key component of the third objective is to increase public and professional education and awareness about what it means to say that a woman or girl was killed because of her sex/ gender - the definition of femicide. (4)

The CFOJA begins its work each year by tracking all women and girls killed as a starting point and, then, works to more clearly identify those killings that are considered femicide and to explain why, describing common gender-related motives and indicators (Sarmiento et al. 2014). Drawing from the first two #CallItFemicide reports (Dawson et al. 2019a; Dawson et al. 2019b), key trends and patterns in femicide in Canada are described below before turning to ongoing data challenges and research priorities.

A Snapshot of Femicide in Canada

In the first two years of its research (2018-2019), the CFOJA documented the killings of 298 women and girls. (5) On average, then, one woman or girl is killed by violence somewhere in Canada every 2.5 days. The CFOJA also documents cases retrospectively and, in its 2019 report, described patterns from a four-year period (2016-2019). Recognizing that some deaths remain unknown, at minimum, 543 women and girls were killed by violence in a total of 456 incidents for which 535 accused/offenders were identified. (6) Focusing on deaths that more closely align with the most common definition of femicide – females killed by males – there were 396 cases resulting in the deaths of 431 women and girls. Drawing from these data, the key patterns described below parallel many findings documented by the voluminous body of research on femicide that has been generated over many decades. (7)

  • Age: Women aged 25-54 years continue to be significantly overrepresented as victims of femicide (23%) compared to their representation in the population (13%). In addition, women aged 65 years and older appear to be emerging as a potential at-risk group for femicide, a research priority which will be discussed further below
  •  Relationship: As documented internationally (UNODC 2018), female victims in Canada continue to be killed most often by male partners, followed by male family members. For example, during the four-year period, 53 percent of women were killed by current or former male partners and another 22 percent were killed by male family members, together comprising three-quarters of the killings (75%).
  • Race/ethnicity: As documented most recently by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (2019), the CFOJA demonstrates that Indigenous women and girls continue to be significantly overrepresented as victims of femicide. It is becoming increasingly difficult to document whether femicide victims were Indigenous (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit); however, the 2018 report documented that at least 36 percent of the victims were Indigenous, despite representing only about five percent of the Canadian population. Beyond Indigenous status, the risk of other racialized women cannot be accurately documented. Data challenges documenting the risk of femicide for Indigenous and other racialized women are discussed further below.
  • Geography: The highest rates of killing of women and girls were documented in the northern region of Canada (i.e. the three territories) and in regions with higher rural populations (i.e. the Prairie provinces and Nova Scotia). For example, 29 percent of all women and girls were killed in rural, remote or northern areas (i.e. populations less than 10,000) whereas only 16 percent of the population in Canada lives in such areas (Beattie et al. 2018). When small towns were included (population between 10,000-50,000), the proportion of women and girls killed in non-urban regions increased to 42 percent. Northern Canada and the more rural Prairie provinces also have higher proportions of Indigenous populations who are at greater risk of violence overall, but specifically Indigenous women and girls as discussed above.
  • Method of killing: While information is still missing in a high proportion of cases, when method of killing was known, shooting (32%) was the most common method used to kill women and girls, followed closely by stabbing (28%). The presence of firearms increased further when focusing on women and girls killed in non-urban areas.

Understanding sex/gender-related motives and indicators

A key goal of the CFOJA is to increase public and professional education and awareness about what is meant by femicide – the killing of women and girls because they are women and girls. One key mechanism for doing so is by describing sex/ gender-related motives or indicators (SGRMIs) accompanied by illustrative case examples. Broadly speaking, SGRMIs are characteristics that signify whether and how the killings were rooted in the perpetrators’ misogynist attitudes, perceptions of traditional gender roles, and/or communityand societal-level acceptance of, or support for, violence against women and girls (Sarmiento et al. 2014). Such characteristics are typically not known early in an investigation which is why the CFOJA tracks all killings of women and girls as a starting point, tracking each killing from its initial discovery through to the police investigation and court outcome if the accused/offender did not die by suicide.

Because this research is in its infancy and investigations remain ongoing in most cases, it is not yet possible to examine with any accuracy the type and frequency of SGRMIs present in the killings of women and girls documented in Canada. As a result, it is also too early to determine the proportion of cases that can be accurately classified as a femicide. Until this information becomes available, the CFOJA uses case illustrations to increase public and professional understandings about what SGRMIs are and how they might be present in the contexts surrounding femicide. The goal is to demonstrate that SGRMIs are rarely evident in the killings of men, regardless of whether the perpetrator is a male or female and, as such, these characteristics are what make a killing a femicide. However, it is anticipated that, due to data challenges discussed below, even tentative conclusions about the presence of SGRMIs may not ever be possible for some cases.

To date, using current case examples, the following SGRMIs have been featured in the #CallItFemicide reports: previous violence perpetrated against the victim or other women/girls, coercive-controlling behaviours, actual/pending separation, victim refused to establish/re-establish relationship, oppression/domination over life decisions of the woman/girl, prior threats to hurt/kill, victim pregnant, sexual violence, mutilation, excessive violence, forcible confinement, disappearance, disposal/abandonment of body of woman/girl, connection to human trafficking/group/cultural practices, and misogyny.

Femicide Data: Quality and Challenges

Femicide data remain difficult to access and collect, particularly in some world regions and/or for some groups of women and girls. It is also a growing challenge to get even basic information beyond sex, gender, age, date, location, cause of death and, if an accused is identified, sometimes the victim-perpetrator relationship (Walby et al. 2017). In many countries, these basic data are the best-case scenario, usually collected by government agencies and not easily accessible by researchers, advocates, service providers, or violence prevention organizations – in short, those directly concerned with preventing such violence. Even when such data are available or accessible, they are often limited in scope, particularly for determining whether the case was a femicide.

Despite growing awareness about the genderrelated characteristics of male violence against women and girls, coupled with advances in technology and digital data, it is getting more difficult to access and collect reliable and valid data, at least in Canada, but likely globally as well. In response, violence prevention researchers, advocates and activists are becoming increasingly reliant on publicly accessible sources (e.g. media and court documents) in lieu of more ‘official’ data that are hard to access or do not provide information that adequately informs femicide prevention (Dawson et al. 2019a). However, publicly-available data are becoming less reliable because those who record and report this information are increasingly withholding basic facts – names, sex, gender, relationship, method of killing and so on. As such, in addition to ongoing difficulties capturing more complex victim or perpetrator characteristics, basic information that has typically been provided, at least by the media, is now increasingly withheld.

Given the above, a crucial question is: if we cannot document femicide in a reliable and valid manner, what is the hope of ever documenting, consistently and accurately, other forms of violence against women and girls and gender-based violence? It is the goal of the CFOJA to continue to highlight the challenges around accessing and collecting information on femicide and to underscore the need for femicide watches/observatories globally to address core gaps in data that prevent the development of informed prevention initiatives. To illustrate these gaps further, a Canadian example is provided below. It is anticipated that other similarly-situated countries – and those seen to have the ‘best-case scenario’ when it comes to femicide data – will face parallel challenges. 

The killing of women and girls (and men and boys) is included as a core focus of data collection by Statistic Canada’s Homicide Survey. However, despite the fact that women and girls face the most danger from men they know – male partners and family members – there are few variables that specifically capture core information on a consistent basis that could inform prevention initiatives (e.g. prior violence in the relationship by male partners, prior police contacts or court orders, other system contacts, the presence of children and stepchildren, custody and access disputes and so on). The variable ‘history of family violence’ was added to the Homicide Survey in 1991 but is limited in various ways. First, it focuses on family violence more broadly as acts that occur between family members (e.g. spousal abuse, child or parent battering). (8) Second, it also does not capture the direction of the violence, meaning the accused or the victim may have perpetrated the violence or both parties against each other. Third, if there were multiple victims, it is also only necessary for the accused to have been previously violent against one family member – and perhaps not the victim of the killing – for the incident to be coded as having a history of family violence. Finally, this variable is not used for homicides that occurred between dating partners (Burczycka and Conroy, 2018). While information on prior criminal convictions is collected for both victims and accused, there is no way to determine if these were domestic violence-related given that there is no such offence in the Canadian Criminal Code. Therefore, even though prior violence by the perpetrator against the victim is one of the most common SGRMIs for femicide, the Homicide Survey is not able to consistently capture this information as currently designed. (9)

The Homicide Survey also does not collect case-based information on the criminal justice processing of a killing that can link characteristics of the victims, accused or incidents to the sanctions imposed. Beyond the initial charge laid – which often changes – outcomes of the court process – if the offender did not die by suicide – are not consistently recorded anywhere in Canada (e.g. conviction, sentence length, acquittal due to ‘not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder’). In fact, it is well recognized that little attention is given to variation in official responses to crime across Canadian jurisdictions and globally, despite recognition that courts operate in distinct environments that impact how cases are processed and disposed (Roberts 1999; Tonry 2007; Ulmer 2012). Despite these limitations, data produced by Statistics Canada are arguably better than many other countries, even if similarly lacking when it comes to documenting gender-related killings of women and girls.

Efforts to address these gaps, focusing on the most common type of femicide – intimate partner femicide – is a growing number of domestic violence death review committees which originated in the United States in the 1990s and now exist in six countries, including Canada (Dawson 2017). Depending on time and resources available, some of these review initiatives can access a variety of data sources to triangulate information, sometimes producing a more complete picture of the femicide at least as it occurs between intimate partners. Further, in cases of intimate partner femicidesuicides which may not be subject to as detailed an investigation by police given there will be no criminal proceedings, these review initiatives may also be the only mechanism that comprehensively investigates femicides that end with the perpetrator’s suicide. While several countries currently have domestic violence death review committees, not all do, and even those countries with existing review teams do not have them in all states/provinces, which is the situation in Canada as well, creating data inequities. In addition, the number of cases and the materials reviewed, as well as the voices heard and the stakeholders and experts represented at the table, are also variable across jurisdictions (Sheehy 2017). 

A greater limitation for understanding femicides, however, is that the goal of these committees, is to examine primarily intimate partner femicide/ homicide and, while some teams do include children killed in the context of domestic violence and third-party collateral victims, many femicides are still not be captured. For example, there are few in-depth examinations of women killed by strangers, friends, or acquaintances and/or in other contexts (e.g. gang involvement, sex trade workers, human trafficking, organized crime) unless somehow linked to domestic violence. This is particularly concerning in Canada because some research has shown that Indigenous women and girls are often killed by male acquaintances and strangers, more likely than non-Indigenous women and girls (Legal Strategy Coalition on Violence Against Indigenous Women 2018; NWAC 2010). These femicides would fall outside the mandate of most, if not all, domestic violence death review initiatives.

Finally, like Statistics Canada’s Homicide Survey, the focus of domestic violence review initiatives is the events leading up to the intimate partner femicide with no attention to social and legal responses to the killing after it occurs. Therefore, while their prevention focus is crucial, and can contribute significantly to enhancing safety for those experiencing intimate partner, family and domestic violence, the reviews themselves do not address justice and accountability aspects which are a core component of prevention.

These data gaps, and specifically the lack of focus on non-intimate femicides and the investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of femicide perpetrators globally have been noted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women who has continued to call on countries, including Canada, to improve data collection on femicide. Recent international work has identified strategies that can be applied within and across different countries to improve the availability, collection and monitoring of femicide data (Vives-Cases et al. 2016). These strategies include “political will, technical specific requirements and the involvement of different agencies—governments, mass media, police bodies, courts and professionals, who are in charge of identifying, registering and monitoring” (VivesCases et al., 2016: 34). Priority clusters of actions were also identified within this range of strategies. According to experts’ assessment, institutional national databases were the most relevant, but data extracted from media coverage of femicide was rated most feasible. This approach has been adopted as a first step by the CFOJA; however, more innovative, collaborative, multi-sectoral approaches are required if the relevant and appropriate data for effective femicide prevention are ever to be collected. These data are particularly crucial to inform more effective social and state responses needed to address the higher risk of femicide faced by some groups of women and girls in Canada – and globally – as discussed next.

Current and Emerging Research Priorities

Various current and emerging research priorities have been identified by the CFOJA in its first two years of research, most of which have been highlighted by other researchers nationally and internationally. Below, these priorities are briefly introduced and, while presented separately, they show how intersecting social identities can also compound the risk of femicide for some women and girls. This underscores the importance of adopting an intersectional lens as we move forward in developing more nuanced and informed femicide prevention initiatives. The priorities identified are not exhaustive; rather they are meant to serve as a starting point for future research, drawing from the Canadian context.

Femicide and the intimacy discount

Intimacy is arguably the greatest risk factor for women and girls, consistent over time and across cultures (UNODC 2018). This has remained so despite significant efforts targeting intimate partner violence against women by men in the past three decades and resulting in many social and legal transformations. The ongoing risk of intimacy for women and girls is largely due to an inability to address negative and damaging attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes at the individual and societal level about intimate relationships and about women’s and men’s roles in those relationships (Sarmiento et al. 2014). The ongoing legacy of entrenched stereotypes – coupled with the ongoing belief that intimate partner violence is ‘private’, ‘normal’ and ‘unpredictable’ – creates an environment ripe for such violence for whom women bear the largest burden. More efforts to comprehensively document such attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes is crucial, particularly when held by professionals who work in sectors responding to male violence against women and girls. Negative and problematic attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes cannot be changed if we do not know what they are, who continues to hold them, and why. In Canada, such research systematically examining these questions is virtually non-existent.

Risk of femicide for Indigenous and racialized women and girls

It is well recognized that capturing the race and ethnicity of those involved in crime and violence is fraught with difficulties because information is often missing, recorded inaccurately or used irresponsibly (Owusu-Bempah & Wortley 2014). When approached carefully and responsibly, however, such information may be useful for informing policy and prevention initiatives, and particularly those that target femicide. In Canada, historical and ongoing impacts of colonization, systemic discrimination, poverty, and other inequalities have contributed to Indigenous populations in general being overrepresented as victims of violent crime. However, while Indigeneity has been a long-standing focus of national crime and justice statistics, it is recognized that data quality is often low (Owusu-Bempah & Wortley 2014; Thompson 2014). 

Efforts to document the violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls have increased in recent years, largely due to work by Indigenous women and feminist grassroots initiatives (Amnesty International 2004; NWAC 2010), but there is still much work to be done to consistently and accurately document their absolute and relative risk of violence. In addition, the ongoing impunity for perpetrators also continues to be well-documented anecdotally (MMIWG Inquiry 2019). However, there remains an absence of systematic data and research on state responses to femicide overall, and specifically to killings of Indigenous women and girls (Dawson 2016; MMIWG Inquiry 2019). Consistent with findings from the MMIWG Inquiry, CFOJA data for 2018 and 2019 demonstrate that little appears to be changing for Indigenous women and girls as they continue to be overrepresented as victims compared to other women and girls. However, the picture remains incomplete due to the high proportion of missing data. 

If data is lacking for Indigenous women and girls, it is virtually non-existent for other racialized women and girls. This gap in knowledge may be due to early restrictions placed on collecting data on race/ ethnicity in Canada and/or the difficulty in finding data sources that reliably capture this information (Thompson 2014). In recent years, the challenges that immigrant/refugee women face when they experience intimate partner or domestic violence specifically, including cultural or language barriers, has increasingly been documented (Alaggia et al. 2009; Rossiter et al. 2018). This may enhance their risk of femicide, particularly by male partners, if they are unable to get the help they need. With growing immigrant/refugee populations, in Canada and globally, it is crucial to better understand the numerous barriers these women and girls face when disclosing victimization to access services and supports as well as how social and state actors respond when they do.

Given the need to understand the greater risks of femicide for Indigenous women and girls or the additional barriers faced by racialized women and girls experiencing violence, the lack of reliable and valid data is concerning. Key questions going forward are whether these data are being collected, by whom, and how accurate they are as well as how these data are being used to inform femicide and violence prevention. If these data are not being consistently collected, we need to ask why. Until we have some answers, the actual risk of femicide for Indigenous and other racialized women and girls remains obscured and their ongoing marginalization and vulnerability is exacerbated. And, if we cannot determine how to collect accurate data about their deaths, even greater challenges are faced when gathering vital data for the larger group of women and girls who experience non-lethal forms of male violence. 

Women and girls living in non-urban regions

Research has begun to establish the importance of place in the study of violence, including intimate partner violence (Dawson et al. 2018; DeKeseredy & Schwartz 2009; Gallup-Black 2005; Jennings & Piquero 2008; Peek-Asa et al. 2011; Weisheit et al. 2006) and femicide, in particular (Beyer et al. 2015; Gillespie & Reckdenwald 2015; Sinauer et al. 1999). Recent research by the CFOJA and others has demonstrated that non-urban women and girls continue to be overrepresented as victims of femicide. Therefore, there is a pressing need to examine how the killing of women and girls in Canada and globally varies across geographic regions and how the circumstances surrounding their deaths are distinct from women and girls killed in urban areas. 

Only recently have researchers begun to systematically examine variations in urban and rural homicide, but there is already significant evidence that the characteristics and context of killings differ depending on where the killing occurred (Hunnicutt 2007). For example, some research identifies unique factors that increase the risk of lethality for women living in nonurban communities experiencing intimate partner violence including, but not limited to, a lack of access to services and supports, few to no transportation options, rural gun culture, and difficulty maintaining privacy and confidentiality (Dawson 2010; Dawson et al. 2018; Pruitt 2008; MMIWG Inquiry 2019). This situation is not new in Canada. In a 2008 Senate report on rural poverty in Canada, family violence in rural Canada was identified as one of two pressing crime-related issues that required federal government attention and “inadequate access to services” was identified as a key factor contributing to this ongoing problem (Senate Canada 2008: 239).

Femicide of Older Women

In Canada and globally, older women are an emerging research priority (ACUNS 2017b) which is becoming more urgent as many populations worldwide continue to age. The CFOJA demonstrated that, in 2018, women aged 65 years and older were slightly underrepresented as victims (16%) compared to their representation in the general population (18%). However, 2019 data showed that women aged 65 and older are now slightly overrepresented as victims and, in fact, were the largest age group of victims (20%), representing one out of every five women killed that year. Although violence and abuse against older women is common worldwide, it has received little attention to date and it is currently one of the most widespread, but unpunished crimes, affecting older women across all groups and nations (ACUNS 2017b). In part, the risk of violence faced by older women stems from the fact that they live longer than men and, as a result, are more likely to live alone or with a single caregiver, increasing their vulnerability. Furthermore, research has shown that older women who experienced physical or psychological abuse were more likely to report more physical and mental health conditions than similarly aged women who had not experienced abuse (e.g. Fisher & Regan 2006).

Focusing on femicide, specifically, research shows the majority of older women are killed by intimate male partners or other family members, often sons (Allen et al. 2018; Bows 2018; Dawson 2017; Krienert & Walsh 2009; Sutton & Dawson 2017). This is consistent with patterns identified by the CFOJA. Because older women are most often killed by a close relative, femicides tend to occur within the victims’ home, a finding that is not true of older male homicide victims (Krienert & Walsh 2009). In addition, risk factors such as caregiver burnout and a history of domestic violence may increase the risk of homicide among older women (Canetto & Hollenshead 2001; Malphurs & Cohen 2005). Given that older populations are increasing rapidly in many countries, more focused research and violence prevention initiatives are needed to effectively target this group of women.

Women and girls with disabilities

Few, if any, studies have examined disabilities as a risk factor for femicide. However, focusing on non-lethal violence, a recent Statistics Canada (2014) publication underscored the growing recognition of the extent, nature, and prevalence of gender-based and disability-based violence for women with disabilities (Cotter 2018), consistent with international trends (Dowse et al. 2016). Furthermore, it is recognized that violence for women and girls with disabilities cuts across both private and domestic settings to public settings such as state or institutional facilities (Canadian Association for Community Living 2017). Studies have also demonstrated that women with disabilities are more likely to experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner compared to able-bodied women (Ballan 2017; Cotter 2018) as well as violence perpetrated by non-intimate partners, including family members, caretakers, service providers and strangers (Ballan 2017).

Women with disabilities also have been shown to stay in situations of abuse longer due to physical and financial dependence (Ballan 2017) as well as barriers imposed by perpetrators, lack of physical access to service organizations and inaccessible information (Thiara et al. 2012). All factors can act to increase their risk of femicide. These increased risks are supported by ableist attitudes that portray women with disabilities as weak, or pitiful, as well as over or under sexualized. The abuse is sometimes also justified by intimate partners, family members and other caregivers as a normal reaction to burden of care they perceive the woman imposed on them (Odette & Rajan 2013). It is essential to recognize the gender- and disability-specific forms of violence that women and girls with disabilities experience in order to tailor services and resources that address their needs and protect their lives.


Efforts by the CFOJA to bring a visible and national focus to femicide in Canada has drawn attention to the frequency with which it occurs, arguably more than common public perceptions. Documenting femicides as they occur, and retrospectively, at the national level has also shown what groups of women and girls are most at risk and where, identifying priorities for research and prevention efforts. Ongoing and future research by the CFOJA is multi-faceted, including: (1) research on how to more clearly define and measure the ‘sex and gender-related motives or indicators’ for femicide; (2) continuing to retrospectively document women and girls killed by violence in earlier years to better assess trends over time; (3) documenting media constructions of femicide, including the identification of the dominant stereotypes relied upon; and (4) examining sanctions for perpetrators, including how ‘access to justice’ varies by the social identities of those involved (e.g. Indigenous vs. non-Indigenous) as well as by geographic region (e.g. rural vs. urban). The CFOJA will also continue to be involved in social and education activism through traditional forms of media and social media.

An article by Myrna Dawson, Professor of Sociology, University of Guelph, Canada

2019 Report and Infographics

#CallItFemicide: femicide2019.pdf

Updated infographic: https://femicideincanada. ca/CallItFemicide_2019_Update.pdf

#Cestunfémicide: tunf%C3%A9micide2019.pdf

Infographie mise à jour : https://femicideincanada. ca/cestunf%C3%A9micide-update.pdf

2018 Report

#CallItFemicide: femicide.pdf

#Cestunfémicide: stunf%C3%A9micide.pdf

For more information, please visit: www. or follow @CAN_Femicide.


  1. See and Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls at https://www.
  2. On December 6, 1989, when a lone gunman entered École Polytechnique at the Université of Montréal, Quebec, with the intent to kill women, blaming them for his failure to gain entrance to the engineering program. The male separated students by gender and yelled, “You’re all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!” before firing at the women. Since then, every year on this day, Canadians come together to honour the victims of what is commonly become referred to as the ‘Montreal Massacre’ as well as other femicide victims. For more information, see: history/montreal.
  3. In 1989, eight women working in the violence against women sector who had experienced the killing of one of the women they were trying to help formed the Women We Honour Action Committee and launched the first femicide study of its kind in Canada. Occurring in two stages, the study covered the period 1974-1994, documenting the femicides of 1,206 women aged 15 and older from official records (Crawford & Gartner 1992; Crawford et al. 1997; Gartner et al. 1999). The study continues today and has been expanded nationally by the author of this article whose was involved in the earlier project and whose ongoing research serves as the foundation of the CFOJA (e.g. for most recent publication, see Dawson 2016; or see: https://
  4. Definitions of femicide vary; however, historically and most often today, femicide captures the killing of females by males, also representing most of the femicides documented by the CFOJA.
  5. At time of each report’s publication, there were 148 killings in 2018 and 136 in 2019. However, numbers for each year continue to increase as cases are tracked, investigations unfold and new information becomes available.
  6. Given the longer time period examined, many accused have now been convicted; thus, we use ‘accused/offender.’
  7. Key highlights from each report are provided, but further details are available in the reports themselves and related infographics. The links are provided at the end of the article. For more resources and femicide research, see: https://www.
  8. See: getInstrumentList&Item_Id=1209041&UL=1V&.
  9. For other limitations, see Dawson et al. (2019a).


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Dawson, M. 2010. Considerations for the development of a pan-Canadian map of family violence resources. Ottawa, ON: Public Health Agency of Canada.

Dawson, M., D. Sutton, M. Carrigan, and V. Grand’Maison, Danielle Bader, Angelika Zecha, and Ciara Boyd. 2019a. #CallItFemicide: Understanding Gender-based Killings of Women and Girls (2nd Annual Report; 78 pages). Guelph, ON: Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence.

Dawson, M., D. Sutton, M. Carrigan, and V. Grand’Maison. 2019b. #CallItFemicide: Understanding Gender-based Killings of Women and Girls (Inaugural report; 78 pages).Guelph, ON: Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence.

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Fore more information, please visit our Global Femicide Watch Platform.