Skip to content

Illustration by Security Management

France Announces Plan to Address Domestic Violence

Large-scale protests swept through Paris, Brussels, and other European cities over the weekend as tens of thousands of people turned out to protest against domestic violence. More events are planned for 25 November, which the U.N. has designated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

According to the U.N., one in three women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. One in every two women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family in 2017; only one out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances.

In Brussels, protesters placed pairs of women’s shoes painted red outside a court to symbolize victims of violence against women. Protesters sang and chanted, carrying banners with slogans such as “A dress is not a ‘Yes’” and “Am I next?”

In France, more than 130 women are believed to have been killed by their partner or ex-partner so far this year, Reuters reported. Many of the victims had reported abuse to police. In Paris, some 35,000 people participated in a march. The demonstrations occurred two days before the French government plans to publicize the results of an investigation into domestic violence.

A 2014 EU survey of 42,000 women across all 28 member states found that 26 percent of French respondents said they had been abused—physically or sexually—by a partner since age 15, AP reported. While that is below the global average of 30 percent, it was the sixth highest among EU countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his solidarity on Twitter, writing: “I give my support to every woman who has experienced gender-based or sexual violence. Count on me to continue to mobilization of the government and the entire nation in this great cause.”

Today, the French government announced its plans to address domestic violence, pledging to seize firearms from abusive spouses and better train police to respond to abuse cases, The Associated Press reports. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe unveiled the plan, which is worth an estimated €360 million and will include electronic bracelets for abusers and 1,000 new places in shelters for battered women.

“The first success of this effort is to break this chain of silence,” Philippe said.

The measures will also include the creation of prevention programs in schools, codifying “psychological violence” as a form of domestic violence, and opening two centers in each region to house perpetrators so victims can remain in their homes. The government will also create 80 new positions nationwide for point officers to handle domestic violence complaints.