MADRID ( Associated Press) – A spate of gender-based violence cases and the early release of several sex offenders have increased pressure on Spain’s leftist government, which touts its feminist credentials to do more to protect women from abuse. Is.
After an urgent meeting on Friday, the country’s equality ministry proposed housing and income support for victims of abuse, but said there was no need to toughen up legislation that allows some cases to be reviewed and some sex offenders punished. allows him to reduce the sentence.
“We must not only be able to make these specialized comprehensive care and protection services available to women victims, but also find ways to reach out to victims effectively so that they do not have to go through lengthy bureaucratic procedures,” the minister pointed out. Ho.” Of Equality, Irene Monteiro.
At least six women have been murdered so far this year – possibly by their current or former partners, according to the latest records from the government Office against Gender Violence.
After studying these cases, the Equality Ministry found that some victims were staying with their alleged killers for financial reasons. Montero said she plans to provide housing services and income linked to a minimum wage to women who have experienced violence and are vulnerable.
The proposal needs cabinet approval, but Monteiro said it shows the government’s willingness to reform what she called a system that in principle works very well against gender violence.
Official figures show that at least 1,188 women have been killed by their male partners or ex-partners since 2003, when the country took the lead in the count of femicide cases.
The figures show a slight decline in the number of annual murders since 2000.
Experts agree that there has been a significant decrease in cases in recent decades as Spain has begun to seriously address violence against women, but they believe that much remains to be done, especially for those who are victims. for those who had reported their attacker at least once. In 2022, these were 43% of homicide victims.
“We have to improve risk assessment, because when women report their condition, the risk of assault increases,” said Yolanda Besteiro, an expert on gender issues and president of the Progressive Women’s Association.
Violence against women has increasingly become a social concern, as well as a politically contentious issue in highly polarized debates.
Opposition parties have strongly criticized the government for introducing a sexual consent law which ironically has allowed over 200 sex offenders to successfully appeal.