• France's news in English

France unveils €66m plan to tackle domestic abuse

Dan MacGuill · 22 Nov 2013, 10:35

Published: 22 Nov 2013 10:35 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French Minister for Women’s Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, is due on Friday to present the government’s latest three-year plan to take on the prevalence of domestic abuse in France.

According to latest statistics from the Interior Ministry, one woman dies every 2.5 days at the hands of a partner or ex-partner in France, and only 10 percent of victims come forward to the police

French daily Le Parisien, however, claims to have got its hands on the document, which outlines a "€66-million, three-year project" - twice the budget of the previous plan presented in 2010.

The plan has been welcomed by women's rights activists in France. "These are good measures, some of which have never been tried before in France," Françoise Brié from the National Federation of Women's Solidarity (FNSF) told The Local on Friday.

Here’s what the French government reportedly has planned to tackle the scourge of domestic violence.

More serious incident reporting

Because of the role that intimidation and manipulation can often play in domestic abuse, victims retracting complaints is a problem for authorities.

One of the new measures set to be announced on Friday, therefore, will make it mandatory for law enforcement, after being notified of domestic abuse, to formally report an alleged crime (“porter plainte”).

This is as opposed to the current system, where incidents are logged in a police officer’s log book, but not officially entered into a database of reported crimes.

Once the alleged crime is formally reported, the legal onus will then be on the person who first flagged a possible act of domestic violence, to sign a form declaring they are withdrawing their claim.

Furthermore, in cases where a victim of abuse calls police to report it, only for her to be intimidated or manipulated into “changing her mind” before officers arrive at the family home, law enforcement will not systematically pay a second “surprise” visit to the home, at a later date.

More social workers on hand

The plan would reportedly double the number of female social workers permanently on hand at police stations throughout France, up to 350 by 2017.

Charities that work with victims of domestic violence will also make their social workers more available for secondment to police stations.

Emergency helpline 7 days a week

The emergency domestic abuse helpline, 3919, receives 50,000 calls every year, according to Le Parisien. To minimize the number that fall through the cracks, the phone number will be staffed on every day of the week, under the new plan, as opposed to its current hours of 9am to 10pm on Monday to Saturday.

More emergency accommodation

The plan would allegedly create 1,650 new places in high-security emergency accommodation for abused women, with or without children.

Story continues below…

That’s a significant jump from the 280 new places created last year, according to Le Parisien.

'One-fifth of all homicides in France due to domestic violence'

Françoise Brié, spokeswoman for the FNSF welcomed many features of the project, especially its "focus on the network of actors involved from different professions", and "following up on reported abuse," but said that more needed to be done.

"France is at about the European average when it comes to rates of domestic violence and reporting of it, but 20 percent of all homicides in the country are the result of spousal abuse, and that's a number that simply must come down.

"In future, we also need to address issues like how parental authority is assigned in cases of domestic violence," she added.

Brié also praised the government of Socialist President François Hollande for its promotion to senior cabinet status of the Ministry for the Rights of Women in 2012, but warned that the office must be reinforced with proper funding, despite the ongoing economic crisis in France.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in Nice in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available