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Domestic violence in Spain on the rise

By Jo Green - Thu 3rd Feb 2011

Barely a week seems to go by without one of the expat newspapers reporting how some crazed guy has stabbed or strangled his wife or girlfriend to death, or some husband and father has blown his family to bits with his shotgun. I say 'expat newspapers' because sadly it seems to have become too commonplace to be considered 'real news' by the Spanish press any more.


During the course of 2010 alone official statistics show that exactly 73 people were unlawfully killed by violent husbands or fathers. However, it is to be noted that 31% of them were killed by partners who were non-EU nationals. Indeed, 25% of all reported acts of domestic violence were made by or against immigrants.


These  statistics have been highlighted over recent years by Europe’s Family Policy Institute (FPI), and were recently reported by the Spanish Newspaper ABC, showing that while only 11% of Spanish couples live together without being married, this arrangement accounts for 58% of all reported incidents. For every one protection order issued for a married couple, ten are issued for cohabiting couples.


The FPI also reports that, according to Spanish government statistics, “for every homicide that is brought about in a marriage, 12 are produced in non-married couples". Furthermore, the increase in these deaths over recent years is largely explained due to unmarried couples living together, where figures have increased 45% compared to falling by 15% among married couples.


Sadly it seems that the incidents of violence recorded has increased dramatically over the last few years - in line with the collapse of Spain's economy and spiralling  unemployment figures. Is this rise in domestic violence cause directly as a result of financial stress ? - If there is a parallel to be drawn here, one can only assume that the problem is set to get worse - or at least continue at it's present rate for a few years yet.


The other consideration is that these statistics only refer to the known or reported cases of domestic violence. The true extent of the problem can only really be guessed at.


Figures released by the INE (Spain's National Statistics Office)recently revealed how reported crime levels in Spain, in particular unlawful death as the result of a crime being committed, have fallen to it's lowest level in over 10 years. However, death as a result of domestic violence is escalating. This now means that in Spain a woman is statistically in greater danger of death or violence in her own home, than she is anywhere else - including being alone, in an unfamiliar and undesirable neighbourhood in the early hours of the morning.

Please click here to find out more on how to get help and advice if you or anyone you know is a victim of Domestic Violence in Spain.

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