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.