The Association of Women Judges of Spain Publishes a “Manifest for a Childhood Free of Sexist Violence”

The Association of Women Judges of Spain (AMJE) published on their website a “Manifesto for a Childhood Free of Sexist Violence,” due to the “urgent need to for a comprehensive, quick and effective protection of mothers and their children.” The association highlights that since 2003, in Spain, 1,010 women have been killed by their partners or former partners. Moreover, since 2013, 29 children have also been killed and 221 have become orphans due to gender-based violence (GBV). These numbers, AMJE claims, demonstrate the need to take into account the violence suffered by children who grow up in a GBV family context.

Violence that conditions their “well-being and integral development, compromising their health, their physical and psychological integrity and their life, turning them into an instrument to exert violence on their mothers, also favoring the intergenerational transmission of these violent behaviors on women.”

In the manifesto, the judges demand the following measures in order to protect children and their mothers from GBV:

  1. Children exposed to GBV should receive “specific assistance and effective protection according to their circumstances.”
  2. The criminal code and procedural regulations should be reformed in line with the Istanbul Convention.
  3. The Statute of the Victim (Estatuto de la Víctima) should encompass children of women that have been victims of GBV.
  4. Increase the number of GBV Courts whose competence should be extended to encompass all sexist crimes.
  5. Approval of an Organic Law for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents against violence that guarantees reparations and minimum standards of care for children.
  6. Improve the system for comprehensive monitoring and risk detection of GBV cases by incorporating an assessment of the situation of the children, beyond risks of physical aggression. The system should also include expert opinions from social workers, psychologists and healthcare personnel.
  7. Provide specialized training in schools to improve GBV prevention and detection through children.
  8. Promote an adequate use of existing legal resources for the protection of minors, to encourage their consideration as “direct victims” instead of “collateral victims.”
  9. Increase social resources by augmenting the number of foster homes, sheltered apartments, and family meeting points.
  10. Reactivation of the State Pact against Gender-Based Violence which includes the possibility to suspend visitation rights in all cases in which the child had witnessed, suffered or lived with demonstrations of violence.
  11. Specialized training of the judiciary, prosecution and other legal operators to promote the application, not only a gender perspective, but also the perspective of the minor in making decisions that directly affect their development.

AMJE and IAWJ member, the Hon. Lucia Aviles spoke with more about this issue.

Read their full manifesto in Spanish here.