France unveils long-awaited plan to fight violence against women

The French government has unveiled measures to tackle the high number of femicides in the country, days after tens of thousands of women took the streets calling for action.

France unveils long-awaited plan to fight violence against women
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets all over France on Saturday in a national protest to end violence against women. Photo: AFP

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe unveiled the plan on Monday, saying he hoped the it would prove an “electric shock”, and that the measures would seek to broaden the definition of violence, including how harassment can lead to suicide.

Since the start of 2019, at least 117 women have been killed by their partner or ex-partner in France, according to a case-by-case study by AFP based on media reports.

The figure shows no improving trend. Last year, 121 women lost their lives in femicides. Meanwhile, each year 213,000 women are victims of physical and or sexual violence on the part of their partner or ex-partner, according to the latest official figures.

READ ALSO: The shocking figures that show the fight for women's rights in France is far from over

A plan to end to legal “absurdities”

The announcements by Philippe focussed on ending what he described as “absurdities” and “dysfunctional aspects” in the law to ensure that women would be better protected.

The Prime Minister told reporters in Paris that the notion of psychological “entrapment” would now be written into the law as this can also lead to violence.

In a measure that has been widely called for, the rules covering medical confidentiality would be changed to make it easier for doctors to signal to the authorities when a person is at risk of violence.

Philippe said the new measures would be inscribed in a new bill that ruling party lawmakers will put to the French parliament in January and the plans would benefit from €360 million of annual funding.

“She left him, he killed her”

Tens of thousands of people marched across France on Saturday in actions organised by the feminist group #NousToutes (All of Us) to demand an end to violence against women.

In Paris, a van was blasting Britney Spears' pop-hit Stronger, while scores of men and women waved their purple banners to the music, with statements like “she left him, he killed her,” “one does not kill out of love,” and “the state is responsible.”

READ ALSO: Why French women took to the streets on Saturday

Protesters call for state action on Saturday's march denouncing violence against women. PHOTO: AFP

At the head of the march was the National Union for Families of Femicide Victims (UNFF), whose members held written signs stating the names of their lost mothers, sisters and daughters. “Priscillia.” “Audrey.” “Marie-Alice”.

The sister of the latter, Hélène De Ponsay, who is deputy president of the UNFF, told The Local last week that she hoped Saturday's march would be a 'wake-up-call.”

After the march, #NousToutes stated that “We marched to make clear our anger. And to demand measures and means that are at the right level. It is now up to the government to act.”

“Not just a question of money”

Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa vowed in interview with the Figaro newspaper that funds would be available for all the new measures while emphasising that the “fight against marital violence is not just a question of money”.

The AFP study published this week , examining every case of femicide in France, showed clear trends, including the failure of the authorities to act on warning signs of the potential for violence

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What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer


But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.