The European Parliament has demanded this Wednesday to act against sexist violence in disputes over child custody. And it has done so with the vote against Vox and with the abstention of two MEPs of the Spanish PP, who have distanced themselves from the favorable vote of the majority of the popular Europeans.
According to the report approved in Strasbourg, child custody disputes constitute a form of gender violence when a violent parent uses them to continue harming their victims. In a report adopted this Wednesday with 510 votes in favor, 31 against – mainly from the extreme right – and 141 abstentions – among them those of the popular Isabel Benjumea and Javier Zarzalejos – MEPs call for urgent measures to protect the victims of Gender-based violence in child custody disputes.
The text highlights the increase in this type of violence during the pandemic and the difficulty in accessing protection services and justice. Too reiterates its request to add gender-based violence as a new criminal area under the Article 83 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
Given the increase in femicides and infanticides following complaints of gender violence, MEPs emphasize that the protection of women and children against violence and the best interests of the minor must always prevail over other considerations when regulating custody and visitation rights.
When evaluating requests for custody, the minor should have the opportunity to be heard and, in cases where intimate partner violence is suspected, hearings should take place in a child-friendly environment and by trained professionals. Children who have witnessed sexist violence should be recognized as victims of gender violence and receive adequate legal protection and psychological help, according to MEPs.
Protection for victims
The report emphasizes that having an adequate income and financial independence are key factors for women to leave abusive and violent relationships. MEPs demand that Member States protect and help victims to achieve economic independence by facilitating access to housing, health services, transportation and psychological support, among other measures. In addition, countries must ensure access to adequate legal protection, effective restraining orders and hearings, accommodation solutions, and counseling, as well as funds for victims.
The socialist MEP Lina Gálvez has demanded in the plenary session of Strasbourg minimum standards to fight against gender-based violence against women and for the protection of the children of the victims of that violence: “It is necessary to advance in the withdrawal of custody and visitation rights in these cases, because it is their future and our future Gender-based violence represents a serious social problem that causes physical or psychological trauma in the victims and that, without a doubt, is a shame for society. We know that an abuser is not a good parent. ”
In this sense, he has pointed to a data from the Fundamental Rights Agency, which warns that 73% of mothers who are victims of physical or sexual violence say that at least one of their sons or daughters has been aware of such violence.
The PP MEP Rosa Estarás has defended the majority yes of her group, with the exceptions of Benjumea and Zarzalejos, in an intervention in which she has asked that gender violence be considered a euro crime, although when it had to be voted on in plenary session Strasbourg, the PP of Casado abstained. The final result on that report voted in September, whose rapporteur was MEP Diana Riba (ERC / Greens), was: 427 votes in favor, 119 against and 140 abstentions – the majority of the European PP -. Among the votes against was, along with those of the ultraconservatives and the extreme right, that of an MEP popular, Isabel Benjumea, who this Wednesday has again become unmarked with her abstention.
The head of the Podemos delegation in the European Parliament, María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, has stated: “An abuser is never a good father. In Spain, between 2013 and 2021, 42 children were murdered by their abusive parents. The Convention must be ratified. of Istanbul and assume that gender violence is a Eurocrime. This is defending the family. ”
The extreme right MEP Margarita de la Pisa (Vox) has once again made the banner of the false accusations thesis: “The laws must guarantee legal certainty: we are all equal before the law, aggressiveness does not know the sexes. It is presupposed always the guilt of the man, as if he were a criminal. Where is the right to the presumption of innocence? “.