Removing barriers: France helps women report abuse to the police

PARIS – France is launching a new process for women to formally report domestic violence and sexual and other abuse, where many victims feel uncomfortable filing such complaints.

The measure comes after thousands of women in France shared online evidence about a police victim – who was convicted or mishandled complaints when they complained of sexual abuse. The government has also come under pressure in recent years to better protect women from deadly domestic violence.

Junior Home Minister Marlene Schiappa said alternative places to file a police complaint could include a friend’s home or any other place where abused women feel safe.

An annual survey led by the national statistics institute INSEE found that only 10% of victims of sexual abuse in France file a formal complaint.

And police this week reported a 10% increase in domestic violence reports from last year. According to INSEE, it is estimated that every year more than 200,000 women are physically or sexually abused by their partner or former partner.

The latest government initiative will try to send police officers where women have found shelter so that they can file a formal complaint. It would allow victims to be “in an environment where you feel safe, at a friend’s house, at your lawyer’s house, in a hospital, at your doctor’s house,” Schiappa said.

This comes in addition to other efforts made in recent years, including training more police officers, creating a list of questions asked to assess the threat, and the possibility of alerting police by text message or Internet platforms. Is.

The junior minister is in charge of overseeing the relationship between the police and women victims of violence. On Tuesday, she visited a renovated police station at the 13th arrondissement of Paris, which now includes an office providing privacy for filers and a room dedicated to children, complete with toys and books.

The visit was part of other events this week aimed at marking Thursday’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

European lawmakers on Thursday called for binding rules in the 27-nation EU to better protect women, noting that one in three women in the bloc experiences sexual or other physical violence in her lifetime, and the EU Half of the women murdered in the U.S. are murdered by someone. close to them.

In France, a new complaint filing process is currently being rolled out in select areas across the country, with the aim of making it nationwide.

The measure comes after a viral campaign on French social media condemned the shocking reaction of some police officers after they reported sexual abuse. According to activists, the hashtag #DoublePeine (#DoubleSentenceing) rapidly counted at least 30,000 accounts of alleged abuse by police.

“I would like to value and support the action of the police forces… and once again remind everyone that in most cases complaints are handled with a lot of empathy, a lot of support,” Schiappa said. “But in the minority of cases it goes badly, it’s clearly unacceptable.”

The Interior Ministry in recent months sent instructions to the police about a legal obligation to accept all complaints, by women saying they were discouraged from reporting abuse by authorities – sometimes due to insufficient evidence. with.

“It is illegal to refuse to receive a complaint,” Schiappa said. “We want the complaints to be referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office so that the justice system can take it upon itself.”

Axel Garnier de Saint Sauvure, a psychologist who works with Paris police to help care for victims and train officers, said there are many barriers to women reporting abuse.

When their partner has a hold on them, it “blocks everything out. It prevents (them) from going to safety, file a complaint,” she said. “You also have the fact that painful situations Completely impedes the victim’s ability to think.”

Another reason is that “there is certainly a part of fear, ignorance about what to do when you are abused. How will you be treated when you file a complaint”.

“It’s scary (for the victim): ‘I’m not being heard, I’m not being welcomed’. And then there’s one obstacle to overcome: enter a police station.”

Thousands marched from Paris and other cities on Saturday to demand more government action on the issue. “We remembered that violence is everywhere. This is not inevitable,” tweeted women’s rights group Noustouts.

Activists want the government to dedicate 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) each year to fighting violence against women, rather than the 360 ​​million ($406 million) now spent – to build a handful of more shelters.


Author: admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *