France's MPs vote in favour of rapid financial aid for domestic violence victims

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France's MPs vote in favour of rapid financial aid for domestic violence victims
French politician Valerie Letard, who proposed the domestic violence aid bill, during an address in Vincennes in January 2022. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)

The French parliament has voted unanimously in favour of providing rapid financial aid to victims of domestic violence - allowing them to leave abusive partners without financial constraints.


After passing unanimously in the French Senate, the bill, which would provide emergency assistance to victims of domestic violence, also received the united support of France's Assemblé Nationale on Monday.

First proposed by centrist senator Valérie Létard, the proposed law has the goal of ensuring that victims of domestic violence can get to safety as quickly as possible, by removing the financial constraints that many experience. 

France's Gender Equality Minister, Isabelle Rome, told La Croix that this law will help to ensure that victims of domestic violence are able to leave unsafe situations and remain away from their aggressors.

Rome went on to explain that the financial aspect is of particular importance because of the many victims who are "financially dependent on someone else or held under another's control, and therefore are sometimes left with no choice but to return."


The proposed law will still need to be finalised, as amendments were added when it went through the Assemblé Nationale. According to reporting by La Croix, the a final version of the text is likely to pass France's parliament in the coming weeks, and it could come into effect within the next nine months.

There is a difference over the form the financial assistance will take - the Assemblé Nationale supported adding an amendment that would make the financial aid available in the form of a grant and not simply an interest-free loan, which the senate had voted on. 

If the bill passes in its current form then the financial support for domestic violence victims could be conditional on a "protection order," a criminal complaint or a report made to the public prosecutor.

The proposed law would also make it so that a portion of the funds would need to be paid within three days.

One of the proposed plans could be to make it so that - if the aid is granted in loan-form - then the person convicted of violence would be responsible for its repayment.

These specifics will be clarified in the final version of the text which should be voted on in coming weeks.

The plan to provide financial support for victims of domestic violence was inspired by a previous experiment conducted in the département of Nord in north-east France. 

According to data by the French ministry of the interior, there were at least 207,743 victims of domestic violence in France in 2021 - the majority of them women. The ministry recorded that 122 women were killed by their spouse or ex-spouse in the same year.

Despite the high numbers of deaths linked to domestic violence, French authorities have often been reluctant to tackle to problem, with victims reporting that police did not take their concerns seriously or failed to help people in need. 


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