Domestic Violence

France's interior minster announces new measures to tackle domestic violence

Gérald Darmanin has announced new measures to try to stem the tide of domestic violence in France, as 102 women lost their lives in 2020 at the hands of their spouse or ex-spouse.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin says that domestic violence has become the primary reason for police intervention in France
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin says that domestic violence has become the primary reason for police intervention in France AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN

In an interview with Le Parisien published on Sunday evening, the minister of the interior unveiled the 2020 figures for "violent deaths within a couple", which have been published this Monday.

While 102 women and 23 men lost their lives in 2020 through domestic violence the minister emphasised that last year was special with two lockdowns.

This, however, represents the lowest figure for 15 years, whereas in 2019 there were 146 feminicides.

Nevertheless, Darmanin underlined "the number of police and gendarmerie interventions for domestic violence remains very high: over 400,000, or 45 interventions per hour.

"Not a day goes by without the [police] going to free a woman or children taken hostage," he added.

Darmanin also noted that domestic violence "is becoming the primary reason for police and gendarme intervention".

In an attempt to combat this scourge, the Minister of the Interior has announced, among other measures, that priority will be given to the processing of complaints of domestic violence, and that an officer specialising in this type of violence will be appointed to each police station and each gendarmerie brigade across France.

Family protection units to be rolled out nationwide

Darmanin also drew lessons from a particularly atrocious feminicide near Bordeaux on 4 May last, for which he had requested an special investigation.

The subsequent report found a multitude of failures that led to a 31-year-old woman being burnt alive in the street by her ex-husband, after he had shot her in the legs to make her fall. 

Darmanin had commissioned a new report to identify specific responsibilities in dealing with domestic violence, which was submitted to the Prime Minister Jean Castex last week, but has yet to be made public.

To deal with the increased number of court procedures (193,000 last year), Darmanin has promised a recruitment drive for judicial police officers.

In addition, the interior minister wants each department to have specialised family protection teams to combat domestic violence.

Finally, regarding weapons, one third of women are killed by firearms.

The minister stated his intention to compile a file of people charged with domestic violence to be connected to France's gun owners' register and the list of people banned from carrying weapons.

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