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25 July 2017

Spanish deal to tackle gender-based violence

Women hold a banner as they protest during a demonstration against domestic violence in Barcelona on November 25, 2015.Image copyright
AFP

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Successive governments have made efforts to tackle the problem of gender-based violence since a notorious murder in 1997

Spain’s political parties have agreed a “historic” €1bn (£895m; $1.2bn) five-year programme to tackle gender-based violence.

The measures include providing victims of abuse with six months’ unconditional unemployment benefit to give them a new start, and outlawing imprisoned abusers from being visited by their children.

The agreement was reached after six months and 66 expert hearings.

Reports say 870 women died from gender-based violence between 2003 and 2016.

So far in 2017, at least 31 women have died.

Spanish politicians have pursued successive programmes to address the issue since 1997, when 60-year-old Ana Orantes was beaten, thrown over a balcony and then burned to death by her ex-husband after repeatedly complaining to authorities about his violent behaviour.

Among the 200 measures that received parliamentary endorsement late on Monday are:

  • The status of victim will be extended to women who have not yet filed a criminal complaint, to allow them to access safeguards and assistance
  • Mechanisms for identifying victims of gender-based violence will be established in hospital emergency rooms and primary care
  • Children orphaned by gender-based violence will have priority access to state benefits including educational support. Their guardians (excluding the abuser) will receive tax benefits and priority access to housing
  • Tougher sanctions for gender-based crimes committed on the internet
  • School curriculums to include lessons to tackle sexism and raise awareness of the feminist movement.

A commission will be established in Congress to monitor compliance with the programme.

It was hailed as an “unprecedented event” by Javier Maroto, a leading figure in the ruling Popular Party.

Although there was cross-political satisfaction at the agreement, there was some criticism that some of the measures did not go far enough from the Socialist PSOE and left-wing Podemos parties.

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