Domestic violence courts accused of 'sexism'
29 June 2005, MADRID — The latest stage in the Spanish government's offensive against domestic violence has been criticised as 'sexist' by a legal body.
29 June 2005
MADRID — The latest stage in the Spanish government's offensive against domestic violence has been criticised as 'sexist' by a legal body.
More than 400 special courts devoted to tackling violence by men against women started work.
The 2004 law against domestic violence was the first which prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero brought in after the Socialist party's general victory.
The new courts aim to help battered women by creating better legal protection, speeding up court cases and handing out harsher sentences.
But the new courts came under criticism from the Professional Association of Magistrates which said Spain was "the only country which creates courts only for one sex".
The special courts are to specialise in cases of domestic violence while every provincial court and regional high court of justice will dedicate special attorneys to these cases.
Fifty attorneys will work under a national 'super attorney' who is to be in charge of domestic violence affairs.
Monserrat Comas, president of the Observatory of Domestic Violence, which reports to the General Council of the Judiciary(CGPJ), said: "From now on the cases of domestic violence will no longer be scattered all over the legal landscape."
But the CGPJ itself has doubted if the new courts are constitutional as they only deal with offences against one sex.
Controversy also surrounds another measure coming into effect — men convicted of offences against former partners, will be given harsher sentences than women convicted of the same offence.
Men face up to five years for inflicting 'bodily injuries' while women can only be jailed for a maximum of three.
The government justified the difference by saying the vast majority of attacks were by men against women and stressing a legal bias was needed.
Since last year, 84 women have died through domestic violence, 69 at the hands of a former partner.
The new law is to provide for rehabilitation for prisoners, but this has not come into effect yet.
There are 168 prisoners serving sentences for domestic violence who are on rehabilitation schemes.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news