Judicial indicators of sexist violence in Spain have returned to pre-pandemic levels. Data from the General Council of the Judiciary reveal a significant year-on-year increase in both complaints filed (17.8% more) and registered victims (20.4%) compared to the second quarter of the previous year. Some numbers that are close to the 2019 statistics after a decrease that all the experts of the Council itself attributed to the confinement and the difficulties that the victims encountered in reporting their situation.
Sexist violence, a “pandemic” that hits one in three women
According to the data revealed this Friday by the Observatory of the governing body of judges, all indicators return to 2019 levels. Between April and June, a total of 40,721 complaints of sexist violence were presented in police stations and judged by 34,580 from the same period 2020. A number even slightly higher than the 40,495 complaints that were filed in the same quarter of 2019, prior to the pandemic.
The same happens with the number of female victims registered in police stations and courts. A total of 40,168 victims in this second quarter of 2021 for the 33,338 of the same period of 2020. The number is much higher than that registered in the second quarter of 2019: a total of 38,723 women registered then as victims.
Judicial activity around sexist violence also grew exponentially with respect to the harshest phase of the confinement imposed a year ago to combat the first wave of the pandemic. The courts agreed to 7,969 protection orders against aggressors compared to the 5,838 granted a year ago: this parameter also far exceeds the 7,228 adopted in 2019 before the arrival of the coronavirus. The sentences, with the courts at full capacity, have represented the largest increase: 14,794 sentences handed down (177% more), with more than 75% of them convictions.
The vulnerability of women who report sexist violence also returns to pre-pandemic levels. This first quarter, more than 4,200 women took advantage of the dispensation to avoid having to testify against their alleged aggressors, which is 33.89% more than a year ago, although the ratio remains at very similar numbers. This is a fact that experts in the fight against sexist violence largely attribute to fear of going ahead with a judicial process against their partners or ex-partners. In 2019, before the pandemic, there were 4,151 women.
Victims in the pandemic
The data clearly reflect the effect that the pandemic and confinement had on the victims of sexist violence and the number of cases that came to the hands of the Police, the Civil Guard and the Justice. The confinement with their aggressors made it extremely difficult for women to report what was happening in their homes and the numbers have once again been even higher than those of 2019 when the situation in society has changed.
It is something that the Council itself warned when it offered its data last year. Ángeles Carmona, member and president of the Observatory, stated a year ago that these data “palpably reveal the added difficulties that women victims of sexist violence have had in reporting their aggressors” during the confinement decreed in March.
A year later, Carmona explains that the figures known today “show that during the harshest months of the health crisis there was no real decrease in sexist violence, but rather that it remained hidden as a result of confinement and the added difficulties to which the victims had to face each other to escape the control of the abusers and report them to the court or the police station. ”