The pandemic dropped complaints of sexist violence by 10% in 2020
Just one year after Spain decreed the state of alarm to face the pandemic, the first data on the activity of the courts throughout the year 2020 reveal a significant drop in complaints of gender violence. Already the quarterly statistics of the General Council of the Judicial Power (CGPJ), known as the year progressed, warned of the bill that the health crisis would have in terms of judicial indicators, while the annual report, published this Monday, confirms that there were 150,785 complaints filed for this cause, 10% less than in 2019.
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In them, a total of 145,731 female victims appeared –in some cases the same woman files several complaints–, which is also 9.73% less than a year earlier. And, consequently, the requested protection orders were also lower: 42,624 in 12 months, a figure 12% lower than that registered in all of 2019. The agency describes the decline as "significant" and attributes it "directly" to the health crisis "and especially during the months of confinement, during which the greatest variations were appreciated despite the fact that the courts specialized in violence against women continued to function as their activity was considered essential."
Despite the drop in the number of complaints, other judicial parameters have remained stable with respect to what usually happens with this type of violence: most of them were filed by victims, 70%, while 73% of the Judgments handed down by judicial bodies were convictions (in 2019 they were 70.5%). On the other hand, the courts accepted 70.52% of the protection orders requested by the complainants. Restraining orders and communication prohibitions were derived from most of them. With regard to civil measures, and specifically in the cases of couples or ex-partners with children in common, the low percentage of custody and guard suspensions remains stable (it was only decreed in 4.27% of occasions) and the visitation regime with the alleged aggressor (3.01%).
The president of the Observatory against Domestic and Gender Violence of the CGPJ, Ángeles Carmona, regrets the data released this Monday and certifies that "they cannot lead us to optimism" because "it does not amount to a real decrease in the number of cases of violence machista ", but instead shows the impact that the health crisis has had on the victims and specifically" the added difficulties that the victims have had to report their aggressors. " Not only during the months of strict confinement, but in the subsequent ones, in which there have continued to be restrictions: "Because they were at home under the constant control of their aggressors, due to doubts about whether or not they could leave or because of the fear that If something happened to their sons and daughters, more than 17,000 women stopped reporting last year, "explains Carmona.
If there is something that experts and associations have reiterated during this past year, it is that violence has not only not disappeared, but some types of abuse, the most invisible (control, psychological violence ...), They have increased. Proof that violence has continued to be present are the records of telephone 016 and the emotional support chat via WhatsApp launched by the Ministry of Equality: only between March to May, attentions increased 41% Compared to the same period of the previous year; There were 20,732 calls, compared to 14,662 in 2019. Online requests also multiplied, and the chat received 2,038 inquiries since it began operating on March 21. In other words, as the complaints in the courts decreased, the demands for help or information increased.