The Observatory asks to consider sexist violence abuses and violations committed outside the couple

The Observatory against Domestic and Gender Violence of the General Council of the Judiciary has issued a report in which it demands a legal change so that abuses and violations committed outside the couple are also considered sexist violence at the judicial level. This organization understands that the 2004 Law on Gender Violence must be reformed so that the courts specializing in violence against women investigate cases of sexual violence even if the defendants are not partners or ex-partners of the victims. This will allow, together with a greater investment in judicial means, to prosecute sexual violence in our country in a "more effective, exhaustive and profound" way.

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The members of the Observatory, chaired by the member María Ángeles Carmona, make this request after the governing body of the judges has studied the 102 sentences on crimes of sexual violence issued by the second chamber of the Supreme Court throughout 2020, collected last November. A study that reveals, for example, reveals that in 9 out of 10 cases the perpetrator of these crimes is a man and the victim a woman in 8 out of 10. However, the CGPJ highlights, less than 7% of these cases they are investigated by specialized courts for violence against women, something that, according to the Observatory, "undermines the effectiveness in the fight against this type of crime".

According CGPJ data, in Spain there are 106 investigative courts specialized in violence against women, another 32 more than criminal where to hold trials in addition to another 351 compatible. The body itself warns in its report today that more will be needed to deal with this possible legal reform. "It should be accompanied by an increase in the number of courts for violence against women, whose jurisdiction would be extended to all new crimes included in the field of gender violence," says the Observatory. Data from the Registry of Sex Offenders, from the Ministry of Justice, reveals that in 2019 there were 2,635 men and 73 women serving sentences for different crimes of sexual violence.

One solution, for the Observatory, is to modify the first article of the 2004 Law on Gender Violence, which limits the concept of sexist violence to all types of aggression committed against "those who are or have been their spouses or who are or have been been linked to them by similar affective relationships, even without living together". This concept excludes, therefore, abuses or violations committed by strangers or by family members who are not the victim's partner. According to a study by ANAR Foundation, more than 50% of child abuse takes place at home and by family members such as fathers, uncles, cousins ​​or the mother's partners. Data from the CGPJ explain that 33.6% of abused minors are victims of these crimes in the family.

For the CGPJ, it is necessary that the concept of violence against women be extended to sexual violence committed by men who are not the victim's partner or ex-partner. "The current closed concept of violence against women is insufficient to effectively study and combat this criminal phenomenon," says the Observatory, based on to the Istanbul Convention signed by Spain in 2011. The Agreement does not make this differentiation that the Spanish Law of 2004 does.

That the courts of violence against women assume this type of investigation must be accompanied by other reforms in addition to an increase in staff. The Observatory calls for: "The elaboration of profiles of the most vulnerable minor victims for the early detection of risk; the review of school protocols for a better detection of sexual violence against girls and boys and, for the same purpose, the improvement of coordination between legal operators, doctors and schools; and commitment to the development of specific training plans for judges and magistrates in matters of sexual violence against minors".

This measure would allow, according to the CGPJ, "to have a more detailed vision of this criminal typology from the point of view of legal analysis and a more agile instruction of the procedures." In the cases of minor victims, more than 70% of the cases analyzed in the study, adds the CGPJ: "The evolution of criminal behavior (sexual abuse or sexual assault) could be verified, given that it often lasts for years until the most serious episodes occur.

Use of new technologies to commit crimes

The Observatory focuses on the low figures of convictions for sexual crimes, for example, through the use of new technologies. "The Observatory considers it necessary to analyze the reasons why such phenomena are not being reported or are not being investigated correctly, despite being classified as crimes for years, and proposes to carry out specific training activities on sexual crimes with victims. minors," explains the statement from the judges' governing body.

It also proposes earlier detection of the risk of victims of sexual violence through profiles, but without neglecting the surveillance and protection of minors: "It is essential to strengthen coordination with other social sectors and, specifically, with pediatricians and primary care physicians and schools," the report says. Only 6% of cases in minors were detected through school protocols. Some centers that, according to the CGPJ, "should be, in fact, "spearhead" in the detection of situations of sexual violence against minors."

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