"We have controlled the victim but not the aggressor. If I do not know what goes on in the head of the aggressors, how will I put measures? " Paloma Sánchez, who served as head of the Unit against Violence against Women in the sub-delegation of the Government in Castellón when Nerea and Martina were murdered, she made this reflection in her office days after the crime. When the victims go to the police to report, they must respond to a questionnaire that, until last March 13, did not contemplate the risk of lethality for the woman or the risks for the children.
When Itziar Prats denounced in the police station that his ex-husband could kill his daughters, the police considered that there was a "low" risk in their case. The person in charge of the Court of Violence against Women 1 of Castellón relied on this assessment, among other arguments, to deny her the protection order she requested for the girls.
One day after the murder, on September 26, the ombudsman, Francisco Fernández Marugán, opened an ex officio investigation in which he requested information from the Secretary of State for Security of the Ministry of the Interior and the Attorney General's Office. Prats appeared in that file through his lawyer and cousin, Gabriel Rubio. The lawyer announces that, when the defender finishes his inquiries, he will lodge a patrimonial claim with the Ministry of the Interior and he points the government responsible to "both the PP and the PSOE" for not having reviewed the protocol before.
The Prosecutor's Office acknowledged to the defender that "there was a history of gender violence"In the case in a letter that Fernández Marugán's office sent to Prats at the end of December. On the one hand, it refers to the complaint of the doctor who treated the woman in January and who detected in her anxiety a possible case of mistreatment. In the Valencian Community a sanitary screening system works that allows to give the alarm voice from the ambulances and hospitals. The Prosecutor's Office also refers to the aforementioned police report of February, seven months before Ricardo Carrascosa killed his two daughters.
The Secretary of State for Security responded later to the defender, last Friday. In his writing, he refers to that "low" risk assessment but does not clarify how it was developed or if there was some kind of negligence. Fernández Marugán has asked the Interior for new information to learn about the "evolution" of the implementation of the protocol, which has just been reformed.
For the lawyer Gabriel Rubio, the key is in that document: "It is shameful that the new protocol for risk assessment in relation to complaints of gender violence, which came into force barely a week ago, comes with almost five years of delay".
Rubio argues that the Council of Europe's agreement on preventing and combating violence against women – the so-called Istanbul Convention that Spain ratified in 2014 – obliges States to adopt measures "so that all relevant authorities can carry out an assessment of lethality risk ", according to article 51.1, which Interior has already included in 2019 in its latest revision of the document.
"The culprit of the murders of Nerea and Martina was his father and murderer, but there is no doubt about the responsibility of the Administration, which in an absolutely negligent and unjustifiable way has omitted in all these years to activate that filter that without a doubt would have alleviated the number of deaths in statistics, "he says. "Interior has delivered its work after the deadline, and must respond for it."
Minors killed. The official statistics includes minors murdered by sexist violence since 2013. Since then, 27 children have died at the hands of their parents or their mothers' partners.
Biological parents. In most recorded cases, as was the case with Nerea and Martina, the killers were the biological parents. It was not like that in five of those cases and the information does not appear in two others.
Women and orphans. In 2003, the collection of data on women murdered by their partners or ex-partners began. They total 987 in 16 years, more than the mortal victims of the terrorist organization ETA in 43 years of armed struggle.