Domestic abuse

Most abuse complaints filed by women in France not followed through - report

Protest demanding more be done to protect violence against women in Paris, July 6th, 2019
Protest demanding more be done to protect violence against women in Paris, July 6th, 2019 Martin BUREAU / AFP

Eighty percent of complaints stemming from domestic violence are not followed through by French officials, according to a report published on Sunday by the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.


Nicole Belloubet, the Minister of Justice, acknowledged on Friday that the system for protecting female victims of domestic violence “is not functioning.”

Speaking to the publication, she noted that “quite clearly, it’s not working. The chain of justice is not satisfactory.”

An investigation on 88 files launched by senior civil servants at the Ministry of Justice, la Garde des Sceaux, l’Inspection Générale de la Justice, concluded that only 21 complaints were officially recorded on all 88 cases.

Of that, 80 percent of cases were not followed-up after being sent to the prosecutor’s office.

Rising numbers

In 2018, 121 women were killed through domestic violence says the Ministry of Interior.

And according to women associations and organisations across the country, 131 women have been killed so far in 2019.

"That’s enough. Now we need action and the means to do something. We are no longer at the point of finding facts,” says Barbara Rimlinger, a member of the association Osez-le-feminisme.

Latest death

On Sunday morning in Oberhoffen-sur-Moder, near Strasbourg, nearly 300 people turned up for the funeral of Sylvia Auchter, a 40 year-old woman who was stabbed to death by her partner a week ago.

She had filed a report in October against her husband after she had demanded a divorce from him.

He was due to have a hearing in December, but until then he was essentially free.

Laruence Rossignol, the former minister of the Rights of Women, sent an email last week to the Ministry of Justice and to the Interior Minister Christophe Castaner demanding that “all filed complaints be looked at urgently” for those related to domestic violence.

National forum on domestic violence

This latest publication comes after a national forum on domestic violence was held, shortly after the 101st femicide was recorded.

Over 80 participants participated the forum along with ten ministers on September 3, 2019; a date which is in reference to the phone number 3919, a designated line for women to call if they have been a victim of violence.

"For centuries, women have been buried under our indifference, denial, carelessness, age-old machismo and incapacity to look this horror in the face," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said at the opening of the meeting.

Consultations with the government are meant to continue on until 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

At present, France spends some five million euros a year to try and prevent deadly domestic violence, but critics, activists and victims say more needs to be done and the government needs to invest more into such initiatives.

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