Economic violence is a manifestation of gender violence. One of the dimensions is the repeated and unjustified non-payment of alimony stipulated in the event of separation or divorce in favor of the woman and / or her children. Despite this, it is one of the issues to which the legislator has paid less attention.
This has been considered by a sentence handed down by the Criminal Court number 2 of Barcelona in a procedure for the crime of family abandonment. The resolution, which can be consulted at this link, It contains a reasoned exposition for the modification of the Penal Code in the matter of gender violence.
And it is that, economic violence is not “entrenched in our legislation.” The legal system contemplates the non-payment of pensions when it has been legally established in cases of separation, divorce or marriage annulment, among others. But “they are left out, for example, the cases in which due to voluntary and intentional non-payment of the mortgage payments, the other parent, usually the parent, is deprived of the family home, leaving the family home and the children in a very complicated life situation.” Or the cases of “economic exploitation” of women, who may be deprived of the availability of their own salary or forced to work in the family business without the right to salary or social benefits. Also the so-called “labor sabotage” that slows down women’s job expectations by imposing care tasks and roles associated with the female sex and motherhood.
Subdue the woman
Thus, economic violence can occur “during intimate relationships, exclusively or in combination with other forms of violence, through account control”, for example. Or after the relationship is broken. The aim of the abuser is “to continue submitting and controlling women,” argues the sentence in its presentation to the Government.
For this reason, by virtue of the power of the courts provided for in article 4.2 of the Penal Code to highlight the cases in which the legislator has not defined behaviors worthy of and in need of punishment, the resolution calls for the inclusion of a precept in the Penal Code specific that considers economic violence as a form of sexist violence. And this in coherence with the State Pact against Gender Violence of 2017, with article 14 of the Constitution regarding equality between women and men and with international standards of due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and repair crimes. classified as violence against women, among which the Istanbul Convention stands out.
In the prosecuted case, it was proven that a father, “with the intention of undermining his family duties” and despite having “economic capacity”, did not give the mother alimony of 125 euros in favor of her daughter in the period between September 2014 and July 2019. And this in a context of sexist violence since he had been convicted on two occasions for crimes of threats in the sphere of the couple with the imposition of restraining measures with respect to the mother. “We cannot speak of a simple non-payment of pensions, but of a situation of economic violence as a manifestation and / or continuation of the gender violence suffered,” the sentence underlines.