Femicides in Germany

An empirical-criminological study on the killing of women

Project period

01.03.2022 – 28.02.2025

Project staff

Paulina Lutz

Nora Labarta Greven

Prof. Dr. Tillmann Bartsch (project manager)


Institute of Criminology, University of Tübingen

Working group at the Institute of Criminology Tübingen

Dr. Wolfgang Stelly (wolfgang.stelly@uni-tuebingen.de)

Dr. Jürgen Thomas (juergen.thomas@uni-tuebingen.de)

Prof. Dr. Jörg Kinzig (joerg.kinzig@jura.uni-tuebingen.de)

Sabine Maier (sabine-patricia.maier@uni-tuebingen.de)


German Research Foundation (DFG) and Saxon State Ministry of Justice and for Democracy, Europe and Equality

Project description

The term “femicide” was introduced into scientific discourse in 1976 by sociologist and feminist Diane E.H. Russell at the International Tribunal on Crimes against Women. According to Russell, this term is highlighting that many killings of women are hate crimes and represent “extreme manifestations of male dominance and sexism”. Russell includes two manifestations of femicide in particular: first, “mysogynist killings,” i.e., killings of women out of hatred for women, and second, killings of women because they do not conform to patriarchal role models and resist male control and dominance.

An empirical study on femicide, which takes into account the different social contexts and motives for the killings of women, does not yet exist for Germany. There are only research studies that deal with sub-areas of femicide – in particular with intimate partner homicides and so-called honor killings. Killings of women in other fields of social close environment as well as outside of it has hardly been the subject of research so far.

Aims of the project

The aim of the research project is to fundamentally investigate femicide in Germany. In a first step, the hitherto vague (theoretical) concept of femicide will be specified and operationalized. For this purpose, the expertise of representatives of victims’ and women’s associations and of various actors from the police, the public prosecutor’s office and the judiciary will be used. On this basis, the criminal case files of all homicides against women registered by the police in one year in selected federal states will be examined and different crime constellations, backgrounds and types of gender-motivated homicides will be worked out.