National and regional government authorities are taking measures to minimize the danger of increased domestic violence directed at women during the government-decreed mandatory confinement of Spaniards to their homes in response to the country’s coronavirus epidemic.
During the mandatory confinement period of 15 days and possibly longer, government authorities note that many women living at risk of gender violence in the home will be spending more time with their male aggressor partners in a reduced space and under conditions of increased pressure and anxiety.
As a result, the government’s national Ministry of Equality has said it is reorganizing services available to abuse victims accordingly and that it is guaranteeing that the national “016” for domestic abuse victims will be functioning at 100-percent capacity, 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
The ministry has also called on regional government agencies to ensure that information about the available of assistance to abuse victims during the coronavirus crisis is made widely known and that call centers and crisis offices remain open so that all potential victims are referred to services that are operational so they can obtain any assistance needed.
At the regional level, some governments are preparing plans to house women and their children who may need to seek alternative shelter during the crisis in local hotels that are now virtually emptied of tourists due to the coronavirus epidemic.
In Castilla-La Mancha, regional Equality minister Blanca Fernández has said that the government was already anticipating hotel accomodation for victims and said the regional government maintains that women victims of gender violence remain an absolute priority “so we are not going to allow any of them to be left unprotected in Castilla-La Mancha due to the circumstances current”.
Some gender violence experts say there may in fact be a decrease in reports of domestic abuse to the “016” hotline, as women confined to close quarters with their aggressors will not have the opportunity to contact authorities to seek help without being detected by their partner. It may actually be immediately after the confinement is lifted, former government delegate for Gender Violence Miguel Lorente told the Europa Press news agency, that Spain will see an increase in women seeing an opportunity to flee their aggressors and seeking help to get out of domestic abuse situations.
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