By Vincent Coste & Lindsey Johnstone
Euronews (03.09.2019) – https://bit.ly/2lYCF6A – A demonstration was held in Paris on Sunday to denounce the 100th femicide in France this year, at which people held signs showing the names of the women killed by their partner or ex-partner between January and September 2019.
On Monday, a 92-year-old woman became victim number 101, when she died after being beaten by her husband with his cane.
In 2018, 121 women were killed in France by their partner or ex-partner, according to the Ministry of Interior.
Protesters on Sunday called on the French government to act, ahead of a meeting on domestic violence on Tuesday.
The national forum on domestic violence or “day of dialogue” – an initiative led by Marlene Schiappa, the French Secretary of State for Equality – was attended by police officers, lawyers, representatives of women’s associations and the families of victims of femicide, with domestic violence prevention and victim support workshops planned.
Schiappa last week pledged €1 million for organisations tackling domestic violence, but the announcement has been met with criticism from such groups, who deem it inadequate.
Sunday’s demonstration was organised by the feminist organisation Nous Toutes (All of Us), which is demanding the government prioritise the issue and allocate more funds to tackle it.
Chief executive Caroline De Haas tweeted: “They are [the] 100. Murdered because they are women. This evening, with Nous Toutes, we have named them. We are asking the state to wake up. We need funds and public policies that are up to the task.”
Schiappa on Tuesday announced the creation of a new helpline 3919 – after the date of launch, 3/9/19 – and encouraged people to share it. She tweeted a message beginning “I’ll be taken seriously when I’m dead” and went on to say: “Today, 3/9/19, at the coffee machine, at lunch, at the school gate, on the phone, on social networks… share 3919. You never know who might need it.”
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced after the summit a raft of new measures including the creation of 1,000 additional places in emergency accommodation for women who are the victims of domestic violence and an audit of police handling of domestic violence. From November 25, women will be able to file domestic violence complaints at the hospitals where they have been treated for injuries inflicted, and legal powers to limit fathers’ parental rights in the case of domestic violence, while still allowing the mother to receive alimony, will be introduced.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer also announced the creation of a working group focused on the prevention of domestic violence through education.
According to the NGO “Femicides par compagnons ou ex” (Femicides by partners or exes), a woman is killed by a partner or former partner every two days in France. The collective told Euronews last month that among those killed this year, many had already gone to the police about domestic violence issues but that their concerns had not been taken seriously.
The group also called on French authorities to take a new approach by removing violent men from their partners and families, rather than women and children being the ones to move to shelters. “They come out of a conjugal hell and are plunged into another kind of hell, while their violent partners are at home and can continue to harass them through the children because they retain their parental rights,” they said.
According to a study by the Victims’ Delegation of the National Police and National Gendarmerie, in 2018 21 children were also killed in the context of domestic violence. The study showed that the vast majority of domestic murders were carried out using a weapon and that 83% occurred in the home of the couple, the victim or the perpetrator. The most prevalent motive was non-acceptance of the separation of the couple.