There are still holes in the law to protect the children of women victims, warns the Soledad Cazorla Scholarship Fund
In 2021, 31 minors were orphaned by the sexist murder of their mother and so far in 2022 there are 15. These victims grow up in an environment of violence that conditions their well-being. “The damage of being an orphan is permanent,” recalls Marisa Soleto, director of the Fundación Mujeres, during the presentation of the VI Report of the Soledad Cazorla Scholarship Fund. “The recovery time of a child victim is long-distance.” In the last two years, with data up to May this year, 67.5% of these orphans are under 12 years of age, and one in four is under five years of age.
Although laws have been approved to protect minors whose lives have been destroyed by sexist violence, there are still “gaps and oversights,” says Soleto, where a law “made to help” makes water. He acknowledges that “these are not enough cases to generate critical mass” but in the Soledad Cazorla Fund, which last year granted aid to 59 orphans from 36 families, they manage to detect them.
For example, the daughter of a woman murdered by her father 15 years ago, who requests a fee exemption for victims of gender-based violence at the university. They deny her with the excuse that the conviction of her father is not enough proof for her current condition. Or the four children of an assaulted woman, whose father is convicted and breaches his duty to pay alimony. When the mother dies of illness, the man keeps the family home. As the mother did not die “as a direct consequence of a crime of gender violence, these young people are not included in the assumptions of orphan’s pension or benefit,” indicates the document from the Women’s Foundation.
“It is true that since 2015 the children of battered women have been recognized as victims and that several of the important problems were solved with the laws of 2019 and 2022, which improve social security benefits, but in practice for many orphans they do not aid improves, “says Joaquín García-Cazorla, promoter of the fund that bears his mother’s name. “We must improve the definition and mechanisms to accredit gender violence and that none of these children is left out.”
Among the requests to modify the current law (organic 2-2022), the Soledad Cazorla Scholarship Fund asks to extend the reparation and support measures until the age of 25, “when they finish their university education,” says Soleto. They also demand a “specific accreditation for children of women who are victims of gender violence, especially orphans” that avoids the “expiry” of protection measures, with an extension of guarantees to dependent older children.
For example, another case collected in the reports of the scholarship fund is that of an adolescent, the daughter of a woman who denounced but later withdrew the accusation to return to live with her aggressor. This daughter became independent at the age of 17 and managed to enter a shelter. When she turned 18, she had to leave him without any help.
Although the law has corrected that benefits for the murder of the mother are received even in the case of adoption or that orphans receive aid even if the aggressor is not their father and they are not completely orphaned, there are still public administrations that assess the amount of the economic aid or are disparate. It can range from 2,000 euros per year from Castilla-La Mancha for minors to Galicia’s single payment of 7,000 euros that benefits children over 30 years of age. “We ask that the criteria be homogeneous,” says García-Cazorla.
Faced with the onslaught of sexist crimes in recent days, Soleto warns that “it is a reminder not to let your guard down. The best way to deal with gender-based violence is for those who experience it, especially orphans, to rebuild their lives.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.