Spain is pioneering work to combat the scourge of domestic violence and wants Europe to follow its lead. Courts fast track cases allowing decisions to be handed down in days. Judges, lawyers and the police receive special training and a dedicated telephon
In Spain 1 in 4 women fall victim to physical violence. The Spanish EU Presidency has made this problem a priority. EuroparlTV goes to Spain, one of the leading countries in the fight against this type of violence. Is that true? You didn't hit your wife? The judge and lawyers have special training in how to handle domestic violence cases. Created in 2004, these Spanish courts target this scourge, whose origin is often the same. Many, if not almost all the arrests come after a huge intake of alcohol. When the men have drunk a lot, they lose control, an argument ensues and whatever happens happens. Special courts are one thing, giving them the power to act is another. The government has created a legal framework for quick proceedings. A decision can be made within a few days. Following the verdict, the most common action is a restraining order. The restraining order, as well as prohibiting communication and contact, provides a set of accompanying rights, which don't pertain to criminal law but to social rights such as the right of a child to change schools or the right to change jobs when different posts are available. There is also the right to public housing. Too often, violence remains a taboo subject. Centres for legal and psychological aid help battered women. Victims spend an average of 18 months, making the most of the help available to reintegrate back into society. We take the women into our care and try to provide them with the help they need to start a new life. Firstly, they need to recover from the ill-effects of their relationships on them. These tend to be quite serious, so take up the majority of treatment time in this centre. 016, good afternoon, how can I help you? Now victims and those close to them can call a free emergency number. The service is completely anonymous and confidential. 016 gives information on job and housing rights and specialised legal and social services. A system respectful of women has been put in place. Since 2003 special police units have fought against gender violence. Officers have had to train with psychologists, judges and other social workers to become part of this special unit. In 2003 specific units were created. Once the judge issues a restraining order, their main function is to put together a specific security plan for the victim, to understand the specific, individual needs of each victim. The environment of trust built up by all these measures brings results. More and more women are brave enough to come forward and report these men. This unit, made up of two women and one man, supports about 300 women. The time spent on each victim varies, depending on how serious the risk of violence is. We drive an undercover car and dress in civilian clothes in order to be as discreet as possible, so the victim feels safe and at ease and so her neighbours aren't aware of what's going on. We visit their homes and places of work. This team's work has not been in vain. Last year, 20 fewer women were killed by their partners in Spain than in 2008. This project comes at a cost. In 5 years, 800 million euros have been invested by the Spanish government.