Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dealing with domestic violence in Spain

Domestic violence is a real problem in Spain (just as in many other parts of the world) and recently there was an interesting proposal from the Spanish government for dealing with it.

If we accept that attempts to educate offenders should still be a part of sentences (as much as punishment or deterrence) then this new plan deserves to be seriously considered.

As reported by J. GARCÍA in EL PAÍS last week, the Interior Ministry is studying an initiative that would replace community service sentences for those found guilty of committing gender violence crimes with a series of workshops intended to raise awareness about the problem.

In Spain there are currently 19,000 gender violence offenders who are fulfilling community service obligations.

The government argues that this type of sentence is unrelated to the crime, and that sensitivity training could be more effective.

“Perhaps we won’t get through to them all, but the idea is to educate the abusers and make them conscious of their situation and that of the victim. The goal, in the end, is to reduce the number of repeat offenders,” said Miguel Ángel Vicente, sub director for the government’s cutodial policies.

The proposed treatment would have the offender attend between 15 and 20 sessions with “different itineraries” depending on the seriousness of the offence.

I believe that this kind approach is likely to be better for many than simply incarcerating all offenders inside a brutal jail system or just punishing them with a fine.


Czarny Kot said...

Unlike anti-Semitism, this is an issue which I certainly remember being on the agenda when I lived in Spain.

Of course, it happens everywhere but the frequency of it in Spain was noticeably higher than elsewhere.

Do you know the song 'Malo Eres'? The fact that someone wrote a song about the problem suggests it really needs addressing.

Do you think it has anything to do with the Spanish idea of Machismo as some say, or is that just lazy stereotyping?

Brett Hetherington said...

I don't know that song. I think it can be stereotyping to say that 'machismo'[ultra male]is a bigger problem here in Spain than anywhere else, though a lot of stereotypes have a degree of accuracy in them. It's very difficult to know how people really behave behind closed doors but I certainly think that adult men and women here socialise more easily with each other (even, or particularly when) outside of sexual relationships. I actually think there's real progress with sexism here...but it's not Scandinavia yet!!!

How is this problem in your part of the world?

Czarny Kot said...

Poland is never going to win prizes for being the most woman-friendly country in Europe.

However, you don't hear or see that many cases of domestic murders compared to Spain.

The problem woman face here are the more traditional and less deadly problems of simultaneously surviving in a modern economy (work) and a rather conservative society (home)

Despite this, there is still a rather charming (or patronising) ethos of chilvary towards women here. Amongst the younger and more educated things are certainly changing and couples are becoming genuinely equal at work and at home.

Brett Hetherington said...

That's (relatively) good news! Any moves towards equality are likely to be good one's. How's the economy holding up there? Here in Spain it's pretty grim. I suppose there is plenty of 'under-employment like here too?