Media Reporting of Femicide during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A 2020 global analysis
Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon1, Professor Sandra Walklate2, Emma McNicol1
1Monash University, Clayton, Australia
2Liverpool University, Liverpool, England
The end of January 2020 marked the beginning of widespread social restrictions ranging from communities being placed under Government imposed lockdowns to the introduction of ‘stay at home’ directives as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) travelled the world. During this period, the potential for increases in violence(s) against women (VAW) and children became an issue of focal concern with the concomitant consequences in terms of fatal outcomes being clearly apparent. To be clear, lock-down initiatives are not the cause of such violence(s) nor are they the result of a new virus. Femicide is the fatal tip of the iceberg when it comes to the global problem of VAW, and prevalence rates have remained relatively stable over the last decade. Evidence of the impact of the current pandemic on the rates of women killed are still emerging and it will likely be some time before a clear picture of prevalence emerges at the regional and global levels. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative media analysis of press reporting of femicide during 2020 to examine publicly reported trends in the prevalence of and responses to femicide throughout 2020. The analysis aims to contribute new insights into how femicide has been understood, measured, and responded to during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon is Director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre and an Associate Professor in Criminology in the Faculty of Arts, Monash University (Victoria, Australia). Kate conducts research in the field of family violence, femicide, criminal justice responses to family violence, and the impact of criminal law reform in Australia and internationally. Kate has advised on homicide law reform and family violence reviews in several Australian and international jurisdictions.