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July 09, 2019

Femicide in France is on the rise

Femicide in France is on the rise

Thus far in 2019, 75 women have been killed by their current or former partners in France; that means that more than one victim every three days has been a subject of domestic violence. 53 of the victims have been murdered in their own homes. @Feminicide, the Facebook page that has been tracking the number of femicides in France since January, commented: “This is domestic violence perpetrated by frustrated men who have given themselves a license to kill. These are systematic assassinations rooted in a problem with our society, and in a patriarchal education system that gives men the right to possess and dispose of women and children.”

IZA World of Labor author Libertad Gonzalez has explored the topic of divorce and how unilateral divorce in particular can influence domestic violence figures. In her article, Gonzalez notes: “In the 1960s and 1970s, it was common for national legislation to allow divorce only in very restricted cases, usually requiring that one spouse provide proof that the other had committed a serious marital fault, such as domestic violence […].” She adds: “Today, divorce is legal in almost all countries, so the relevant policy issues are how much to lower the costs of divorce and whether to require the consent of both spouses. […] Unilateral divorce is associated with lower rates of domestic violence and female suicide.”

Data from 2015 shows that although France had lower femicide rates per year compared to Germany, Switzerland and several Eastern European nations, the country had more femicides per year compared to the Netherlands, the UK, Italy and Spain. In October 2018 Marlène Schiappa, France’s gender equality minister, announced that the government would launch five new measures to combat domestic violence, including a TV campaign, an online platform for reporting abuse, a GPS to help women find shelters and safe houses, and more funding for a domestic violence hotline. Following Saturday’s anti-femicide protests in the capital, Schiappa has promised new reforms for 2019.

Anne Bouillon, French lawyer and specialist in domestic violence, adds that around half of all requests for protective orders in France are rejected. According to Bouillon: “The judge won’t grant a restraining order because they find that violence was committed but that the violence did not put the person in danger, or that the danger isn’t sufficient enough to warrant a protection order. It makes no sense.” The French specialist in domestic violence is part of a group of lawyers, campaigning for a change in the law, which according to her is a long process to make a simple change.

Read Libertad Gonzalez’s artricle: Should divorce be easier or harder?