Thousands of protesters have gathered in central Madrid to draw attention to domestic violence in a year when over 40 women have been recorded so far as having been killed by their partner or ex-partners.

Protesters carried banners reading "We don't want to carry on counting victims" and chanted "We are not alone" as they brandished umbrellas in pouring rain.

The government regularly publishes the number of women killed by partners or ex-partners.

The number so far this year is 42, according to government statistics, with more than 1,000 killed since records started in 2003.

Rates of reported partner violence in Spain are among the lowest in Europe and Spain ranked as the European Union country with the most visible campaign against domestic violence,according to a 2014 EU survey.

Spain ranks as the EU country with the most visible campaign against domestic violence