Congress set to broaden gender-violence legislation

Marchers in Madrid on the 7th November anniversary of 2015 protest against gender violence. Photo: Estrella Digital
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• Measures introduced by PSOE and PP to strengthen 2004 gender-violence law
• Parties seek greater protection, tougher sanctions against ‘machista’ violence

Spain’s political parties are expected to move forward quickly during Tuesday’s plenary session of Congress to reach agreement on broadening the country’s law against domestic abuse and gender violence, with both the Socialist party (PSOE) and the governing conservative Partido Popular (PP) having introduced draft legislation that the other parties hope to amend in order to enable Congress to quickly reach a consensus accord.

Approved in 2004, Spain’s national law against gender violence (Ley Organica de Medidas de Protección Integral contra la Violencia de Género) considers gender violence to be a special aggravating circumstance in cases of physical assault, resulting in stiffer jail sentences when for <i>machista</i> violence against women.

Still, a huge loophole in the original law strictly defines gender violence as physical assault against a women by a man who is either her current or former domestic or intimate partner, means that cases of assault against a woman by any man who does not fit the definition of current or former partner are not punished as aggravated assault, with the corresponding stiffer jail sentence for the attacker.

The beginning of Tuesday’s move to amend the law to remove the loophole and allow special courts set up to deal with gender violence cases to mete out stiffer punishment for perpetrators comes just one week after protesters marched through the Spanish capital of Madrid to mark the one-year anniversary of the massive 7-N 2015 demonstration last year, in which tens of thousands of women protested the ongoing spate of gender violence assaults in Spain and the inadequacy of Spanish legislation to deal with the problem.

► Read More in Spanish at Europa Press Estrella Digital …

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