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Domestic Violence Spikes During French Lock-Down

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

France - The French interior minister, Christopher Castaner, has reported a 30% increase in domestic violence complaints since March 17th, when the country went into lock-down.

The increase in Paris alone has been around 36%.

Analysts think victims are at greater risk from being confined with abusive partners. Similar concerns have also been raised in the UK, and in regard to children and young people (see our article on the vulnerability of children and young people during Covid-19)

Castaner has announced new measures to help victims report domestic abuse, including calling for help in pharmacies. This would comprise a code system allowing victims to report violent partners even if accompanied by them. Such a system already exists in Spain.

An estimated 219,000 women aged 18-75 suffer from physical or sexual violence each year in France by partners or former partners. Only 20% report it, however. A woman dies every 3 days as a result of this crime.

France has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in Europe. Police are reported to be on high alert, and are prioritising the fight against domestic abuse.

On Tuesday, interviewed in the Guardian, Isabella Mulholland, a domestic violence caseworker at the Public Interest Law Centre in the UK, said: “We are concerned about the disproportionate impact that lockdown measures are having on survivors of domestic violence. It is unacceptable for the government to simply point to a general fund which has been allocated to all those in need. Instead, it must secure specific funding for survivors to ensure they are able to access specialist services and safe and suitable accommodation.

“The reality is that local authorities are unable – and in many cases unwilling – to support and protect women effectively unless the government provides adequate resources, guidance and training. Unless and until this happens, survivors will continue to suffer.”

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