“Anti-reconciliation bracelets” adapted to the 5G network, “specialized poles” in the courts, emergency measures taken in twenty-four hours… The Minister of Justice, Éric Dupond-Moretti, detailed on Monday a series of measures to fight against the domestic violence fed by a parliamentary report. But these announcements were greeted with circumspection by the associations.
These measures, which will be the subject of decrees or bills in the coming months, were announced in March by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne as part of her plan in favor of gender equality, a “great cause of the five-year term. “We hope to be much more effective” in the face of “this violence which shames us” and is “everyone’s business”, indicated the Minister of Justice during a press briefing with Isabelle Rome, Minister Delegate for Equality between Women and Men, and the two authors of the report.
A “specialized center” in each court
The creation of a “pole specialized in domestic violence” in each of the 164 French courts will be the subject of a decree “at the end of this summer”, specified Dupond-Moretti. Each center will include a team coordinated by senior magistrates from headquarters and the public prosecutor’s office, with adaptation to local specificities.
The government also wants to allow a judge to pronounce, in case of “extreme urgency”, a protection order in twenty-four hours. The deadlines for these orders, authorizing the eviction of the violent spouse or a ban on contact, had been reduced to six days in 2019 (45 days on average previously). This procedure, provisional, will have to be re-examined by a judge “within six days”, specified the Keeper of the Seals, adding that it would appear in a bill “in the fall”.
“Incomplete” or even “disappointing” measures
Associations defending women victims of violence considered these measures “incomplete”, even “disappointing”. The specialized poles “it’s a step, but we are in the middle of the ford”, estimates in particular Françoise Brié, director of the national federation Solidarité femmes. These measures are “interesting” but “will they be able to be applied? Will we always have someone to sign the protection order at a certain time? asked Ghada Hatem, founder of the Maison des femmes de Saint-Denis.
The government signed an agreement with this structure on Monday, which provides multidisciplinary care for women victims of violence and whose model must be duplicated. Justine (assumed name), victim of domestic violence, has been going there for a few months to “reconstruct” herself. “It’s a great discovery, I received a very human welcome and I feel safe,” she says.
Femicide figures that do not fall
The Ministry of the Interior has identified 207,743 victims of domestic violence in France in 2021, mainly women, +21% compared to 2020. One hundred and twenty-two were killed by their spouse or ex-spouse this same year, according to the Ministry. About forty women have already been killed since the beginning of the year, according to the associations. Figures which do not fall, despite the measures taken in particular since the Grenelle of 2019, notes the report aimed at “Improving the judicial treatment of intra-family violence”.
Their authors, Emilie Chandler (Renaissance MP) and Dominique Vérien (Senator UDI), begin by noting the doubling of complaints since 2016 “in a context of freedom of speech” and more “rapid” judicial response (+218% of measures of removal between 2017 and 2021), even if progress is not “at the same level” throughout the territory.
A file containing information on the authors
In their 59 recommendations, they underline the need to improve the “coordination” between the actors – shortcomings in the follow-up of violent spouses have been revealed during several feminicides. They recommend the creation of a file containing information on the perpetrators – on which the Chancellery and the Interior are working – and better support for violent men.
Upstream of judicial treatment, it is necessary “a network of people trained at all levels of the chain” (doctors, social workers, civil servants, etc.) so as not to “miss out on” situations of danger, underlined Isabelle Rome, taking up a recommendation from the report.
The parliamentarians propose to further expand the issuance of “serious danger telephones”. Nearly 3,500 are active (+471% since 2019) but they remain three times less awarded than in Spain. As for the “anti-reconciliation bracelets” (1,000 active), weighed down by technical problems, a new model adapted to the 5G network and with a more reliable battery, will be deployed next month, promises the Chancellery.