A troubling phenomenon in the fight against gender violence and efforts to protect women from their agressors was brought into sharp focus in January by reports that none of the seven women killed by their partners or ex-partners in Spain so far this year had previously denounced abuse by the men who murdered them.
The seventh victim of gender violence in 2019 was 79-year-old Manuela Iglesias, who was buried in the Galician city of Lugo last week, after she died from stab wounds and a blow to the head inflicted by her 81-year-old husband, who subsequently committed suicide.
Figures collected by Spanish law enforcement authorities since 2006 on the number of women previously denouncing violence suffered at the hands of the current or former male partners who eventually murdered them shows that a clear majority of the murdered women never reported the previous abuse that they suffered.
The year in which the most prior denunciations of violence by victims was received was in 2016, when one in three (32.7 percent) of that year’s murder victims had previously filed complaints against their aggressor. Last year, that percentage fell to just 20 percent, or 11 of the 55 women killed by their partner or ex-partner.
According to figures recently released by the government’s VioGén system for monitoring cases of gender violence, as of 30th November more than 60,700 women and children are living under some form of police protection against gender-based violence, with 406 of those cases considered high-risk.
According to the government’s Ministry of Equality, across Spaint there are currently 1,922 agents of Spain’s Policia Nacional and Guardia Civil police forces are assigned to special protection units for victims of gender violence.
Of the 1,269 Policia Nacional agents currently working on gender violence, 475 are assigned to physical protection duties and 793 investigate cases of gender violence, while the Guardia has 632 agents assigned to protecting victims.
At the local level of law enforcement, there are an estimated 2,562 local police agents assigned to investigating cases and protecting women and children against violence, an increase of 66 percent from the 1,542 local police assigned in 2015 to help combat gender violence.
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