Last year ended with the lowest number of sexist murders in the series and a record number of calls to 016

After 2020, the year of the outbreak of the pandemic, became the year with the fewest women killed by sexist violence, with 47, 2021 has registered even a lower figure: last year 43 women died at the hands of their partners or ex-partners , four less than the previous one, according to the official statistics of the Ministry of Equality. Although there are still three cases under investigation, no other year in the entire historical series, which began in 2003, had such a low record. "It is an undoubtedly positive figure, but there are still 43 murdered women," recalled the Government delegate against Gender Violence, Victoria Rosell.

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This is the second year of the pandemic, a circumstance that, according to the Ministry of Equality, should not go unnoticed, although a study will be published in 2022 to delve into the reasons for the decline. In 2020 the experts interpreted that the confinements and restrictions had been accomplices of the aggressors and facilitated the control of the victims, so that they did not need to apply extreme physical violence to subdue them. "Without states of alarm, it is not as effective in a year like this, but we are still in a pandemic," said Rosell, who has also referred to the "increase in resources, budgets and awareness" of the Government as a "policy that works."

However, the number of murdered minors has increased and there have been seven cases. A record only surpassed in 2017, when eight murders were counted, and equaled in 2015 and 2018. In four cases there was a prior complaint, but only in one protection measures were granted and it was in force at the time of the events. And in all of them the murderer was the father of the minor; the last one happened on December 30 in Madrid's Lavapiés neighborhood, where a 47-year-old man who had just separated from his partner murdered his three-year-old daughter.

Rosell has regretted that what is known as vicarious violence, that which sexist aggressors commit against minors to redouble the damage to their mothers, has increased in its most extreme facet, murder. "When women manage to get out of violent relationships, traditionally their children have remained at the mercy of the aggressor," explained the delegate, who has influenced the legislative measures implemented last year. "They are essential and are summarized in the phrase that an abuser is not a good father", has synthesized Rosell.

In practice, this is what the Children's Law intends, which provides for making the suspension of visits to parents who have been convicted or are being investigated for sexist violence a general rule, something that according to data from the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) it does not occur in more than 4% of cases. What's more, since last year the sons and daughters of female victims who have been accredited as such by the social services may be treated psychologically without the authorization of their parents, something that was previously limited to the cases in which there was a complaint.

More requests for help

At the same time, 2021 has been the year with the most calls recorded by 016, the hotline for victims. Since its launch in 2007, the registries have suffered ups and downs reaching the peak of 85,318 calls in 2016 and that were 87,307 last year. To this must be added the online consultations to the same service, 1,906, and the attention via WhatsApp, which the Ministry of Equality enabled during the confinement of March 2020 to make "silent" means of assistance available to the victims and that since then has accumulated 8,729 queries.

Since last year, all services have been serving victims of all types of gender violence, not only that restricted to the sphere of the partner or ex-partner, one of the advances that Spain has made to broaden the concept of sexist violence in practice. and adapt to what is required by the Istanbul Convention, the international standard of reference on the matter and that Spain ratified in 2014.

Last March 016 was expanded, which also serves victims of sexual violence or trafficking for sexual exploitation purposes, and a few months later the Government approved the same for ATENPRO, the service of telephone assistance and protection. In addition, the official statistics will also count from now on all femicides, and will break down all cases based on various types: feminicides in the partner or ex-partner, family, sexual, social and vicarious feminicides.

"It is the year with the highest growth in the use of resources for victims and survivors, who have more and more accessible services for different types of violence. When the institutional response is strengthened and expanded, it is easier for women to leave relationships violence or receive help, "said Rosell.


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