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Supporting women, ending domestic violence
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Combatting domestic violence


Tough on violence against women: Spain has taken the lead
Tough on violence against women: Spain has taken the lead
Spain has taken up the battle against violence against women: it is true that 55 women still lost their lives in 2009 at the hands of their husbands or partners, but this represents a reduction of 27.6 percent compared to 2008, the lowest rate of violence in the home since 2003. Since about a year ago, the Spanish government has been enforcing more severe punishments and providing better protective measures for victims. A judge can order a perpetrator to wear an electronic tag on his arm or ankle. The device alerts the abused person and the police if the perpetrator comes within 500 metres of his victim.

What do you think of the Spanish initiative?
This approach is really brilliant: violence has been put on the agenda, the means for victims have been enhanced, and the prosecution has been strengthened at the same time. Of course, one should not have any illusions. Spain is just as violent a country as all the others, especially with respect to the relationship between the sexes. It takes time to change cultural and traditional things. But this social metamorphosis can, of course, be accelerated if the public puts the blame very clearly on the perpetrator and only he is made to bear the consequences.

And the woman can continue living normally? That's hardly realistic, is it?
Of course the fear remains. But it gives women the freedom to continue living their lives as before. It is the man who has to leave and is not allowed to return as part of the punishment. The woman knows that the law is on her side, that to defend herself and seek protection and justice is legitimate. But in the majority of the other European countries it is still the case that the women are attributed all or some of the blame for the violence in a relationship. Along the lines of: there must have been a reason why he hit her.


Women in Focus Editor
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