France wants to stop sexist violence, which in 2020 caused the death of 102 women and which is becoming the main motivation for police interventions throughout the country. As announced this Monday by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, the objective is that any complaint that reaches the police station is dealt with as a priority, for which, among other measures, there will be staff specialized in domestic violence in each police station. At the national level, in addition, a “national official” will be created this summer, similar to the one that already exists for the fight against terrorism or drugs.
“From this Monday, I will demand that throughout France the treatment of complaints of spousal violence be a priority,” said Darmanin. in an interview with the newspaper The Parisian. “That means that they should be treated before all the others: before robberies, drug cases, thefts. In a word, lawsuits for spousal violence should be at the top of the list. “
To do this, the minister announced personnel reinforcements and greater specialization, an insistent demand from feminist organizations that have been denouncing for years the sometimes even humiliating treatment that is given to victims of sexist violence when they go to report to the police station. “I want each department to have specialized teams in the fight against sexist violence,” said Darmanin. As he explained, each police station and gendarmerie brigade will have an “agent specialized in sexist violence who must ensure that the files are evaluated and ensure coordination with other public services and communities.”
This will be joined, at the end of August, by a “national official under the model that already exists in terms of terrorism or drugs.” The aim is to improve coordination between the different services involved in this case, including the judicial ones, to avoid new dramas like the one that happened last May in Mérignac, near Bordeaux, where a man convicted several times of sexist violence murdered his ex-wife in the middle of the street burning her with gasoline after shooting her in the legs so that she could not flee. An internal investigation after the brutal murder revealed serious failures in the monitoring of the abuser and the lack of coordination of the services involved, which meant that not all the responsible authorities were notified of the situation, despite the fact that the man was prohibited from approaching his ex-wife and that she had filed a new complaint two months before her death.
“It cannot be that the police know a case and the justice does not,” he declared in this regard last week to EL PAÍS and The world the French Minister Delegate for Equality, Élisabeth Moreno, during a visit to Madrid where she met her Spanish counterpart, Irene Montero, with whom she visited the VioGén police system, among others. Spain is, for France and other European countries, a benchmark in the fight against sexist violence, both feminist and political groups agree. “France is very inspired by Spain to combat violence against women,” said Moreno. “It is the country that has done the most in this matter in Europe.”
In The Parisian, the Minister of the Interior, whose appointment as “first policeman of France” a year ago was highly questioned, since a woman accuses him of having forced her to have sexual relations in 2009, assured that the “slogan” that is going to be given to All law enforcement agencies is that agents must notify the prosecution of any case that comes their way, regardless of whether the victim, sometimes out of fear of reprisals, wishes to make a formal complaint or not.
“The objective is that 100% of the findings [de violencia machista] become a complaint or a notification to the justice, “he explained, while confirming that the so-called handrails in case of sexist violence. This is a figure in France that allows you to go to the police station to register an act of which you have been a victim or witness, without actually filing a complaint that could lead to a judicial investigation, although if you finally decide to take that step, the handrail it can serve as initial evidence of the facts. Darmanin also assured that an application will be created in September to facilitate the reporting of cases of sexist violence.
According to the figures published this Monday by Interior, in 2020 102 women died in France as a result of violence within the couple, compared to 23 men. In Spain, with approximately three-quarters of the population, there were 43, less than half. The French figure is the lowest in the last 15 years (in 2019 there were 146 femicides), but it continues to mean a sexist murder every three days. Almost 86% of these were committed at the home of the partner, the victim or the perpetrator, and the firearm was the most common means (in 41 murders, 33% of the cases), followed by a knife ( 38 cases, 30%). Domestic violence also caused the death of 14 minors in 2020.
Proof that sexist violence continues to be a scourge in France is the fact that cases have not stopped increasing, although there have been fewer deaths. In fact, reveals Darmanin, in the interview, “it is becoming the first motive for police and gendarmes intervention, before other issues, including drug-related procedures.” In total, in 2020, there were more than 400,000 police interventions for sexist violence, that is, 45 per hour.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.