Julie Douib was the 30th marital feminicide in 2019, Chahinez Boutaa the 39th in 2021. Behind these figures, a reality persists in France: women continue to die at the hand of their partner or ex-partner. One hundred and forty-six in 2019, 90 in 2020 and already more than 50 this year, according to the unofficial count of the association NousToutes.
A Grenelle was however held in 2019, with an arsenal of measures adopted. Of course, it takes time to see the effects, especially with regard to the section on education on the principle of equality between the sexes. The confinements linked to the Covid-19 crisis also worsened domestic violence. However, beyond this economic context, systemic difficulties are pointed out by the various observers, associations, magistrates and police officers.
While the mission to inspect the dysfunctions around the feminicide of Mérignac has just made its conclusions and the trial of the murderer of Julie Douib opened on Thursday, June 10, franceinfo is looking at the main sticking points.
Because there is always a lack of human resources
Violence against women may have been declared a “great national cause” for the five-year term, many people still deplore a lack of means to stem the phenomenon. Starting with the actors of justice. “Justice goes from extremely far, that’s our difficulty. When we compare our budget to that of Germany, we are half as much per inhabitant”, notes on franceinfo Alexandre de Bosschere, the prosecutor of Amiens.
If the justice budget does not increase enough, the number of complaints for domestic violence continues to grow. Victims still sometimes encounter the difficulty of pushing open the door of a police station and uneven training of the officers responsible for collecting complaints. Nevertheless, the prosecutor of the Republic of Versailles, Maryvonne Caillibotte, notes “a very substantial increase” since 2019 “the volume of proceedings in matters of domestic violence”. “There is not necessarily more violence, but it is on the rise” better, especially “thanks to the MeToo and BalanceTonPorc movements, [qui] have freed the floor “.
The fact remains that the staff to handle these procedures remains insufficient. And this, at all levels of the chain. For example, the Penitentiary Integration and Probation Service (Spip) of Gironde, responsible for monitoring the perpetrators of violence, including the husband of Chahinez Boutaa, has 42 advisers to take care of an average of 2,300 people, including 400 perpetrators of domestic violence. For their part, the prosecutors ask to provide each prosecutor’s office with a specialized assistant or an assistant lawyer dedicated to this type of violence, pending a strengthening of human resources in magistrates.
Because the material means are also lacking
To help victims of domestic violence, two devices can be implemented: “serious danger phones” and anti-reconciliation bracelets. But for Isabelle Steyer, lawyer at the Paris bar and specialist in domestic violence, the scale of these devices remains too low: “There are still 220,000 complaints for acts of domestic violence. We end up with 4,000 ‘danger phones’, it is nothing compared to the complaints. If we estimate that there are 10% of women in a situation of serious danger, we would need 22,000 bracelets, 22,000 telephones “, she explains to franceinfo.
This observation implies that all victims would like to benefit from it. But in reality, this is not the case. “The anti-rapprochement bracelet is very heavy, very complicated to put on, many victims do not feel so threatened. Some feel that they will manage and we cannot force someone to accept. such an intrusive device “, recalls Céline Parisot, of the Union Syndicale des Magistrates (USM). The anti-rapprochement bracelets were gradually deployed in the territory between September and December 2020. “We then had to distribute them in the jurisdictions, to see how they worked, who was going to assign them”, complete from franceinfo Catherine Vandier, USM national secretary.
The case of Spain, often set up as a model of the fight against violence against women, often comes up with interlocutors, for its much more frequent use of the anti-rapprochement bracelet. But this is to forget some of the issues, according to Anne-Sophie Wallach, national secretary of the Syndicat de la magistrature, interviewed by franceinfo: “We often cite this example, but it was accompanied by a budget of nearly a billion euros.” Clémentine Autain, LFI deputy for Seine-Saint-Denis, asks the French authorities for a similar effort.
“What we are asking for is a billion [d’euros] to fight against violence against women. “Clémentine Autain, LFI MP
Because we must rethink the protection of victims
For the members of the inspection mission, this matter “reveals the need for increased attention to the protection of victims”. This is a real change in culture and approach. According to Edouard Durand, co-president of the High Council for equality between women and men, the story of Julie Douib is also “emblematic of what women victims of domestic violence experience: ‘You wait for him to kill me to protect me'”. “It is imperative that society enters into what Ernestine Ronai – a pioneer in the fight against feminicides – calls a ‘culture of protection’. What is it, to protect? It is to anticipate the risk from what the first passages show. “
An analysis shared by lawyer Isabelle Steyer: “We could also imagine the debate in terms of victim protection and change the light on these files because victims are in danger from the moment they enter a police station.” The specialists thus call for a strengthening of the system of the protection order, a judicial measure which allows a family court judge to provide urgent protection to victims of domestic or intra-family violence. “It would have to be pronounced without even the women having lodged a complaint”, estimates Françoise Brié, director of the National Federation of Solidarity Women, interviewed by franceinfo.
Because the laws are not yet sufficiently enforced
No less than ten circulars have been sent to the prosecution since the beginning of the year. A massive arsenal to allow the courts to act in the field of domestic violence. For the lawyer Michelle Dayan, president of the association L4W (Lawyers for women), “the legislative device would already be extremely effective if it were applied”. The same goes for magistrate Anne-Sophie Wallach, who regrets that certain recommendations in the report of the inspection mission “seem pretty obvious and already exist”.
Setting a maximum time limit for responding to a complaint, so that the prosecution can take it up, is a line of thought: “Between the moment a woman lodges a complaint with the police station and the moment when the alleged perpetrator of violence is in police custody and when the public prosecutor’s office takes it up, a period must pass that could be set at eight days”, suggests Michelle Dayan. “We have a relatively complete legislative arsenal, now it is necessary that it be applied and that all these devices be put in place with extreme vigilance”, supports Françoise Brié, of the National Federation of Solidarity Women.
Because there is always a lack of coordination between the services
The inter-service partitioning remains one of the weak points of the system, despite the establishment of mechanisms such as the steering committees dedicated to the allocation of “serious danger telephones”, for example, which bring together magistrates, associations and forces. of the order. “We still have too many dead. What’s wrong? Are we missing tools, devices? Or is it perhaps our coordination between us that is The conclusion is that we need to talk to each other more, we need to coordinate “, raises on franceinfo Sylvie Moisson, Attorney General of the Court of Appeal of Lyon. As Alexandre de Bosschere, the prosecutor of Amiens explains, the signals of domestic violence “arrive in different places, in the investigation services, in associations, the probation services, near a hospital service. We must manage to cross the information.”
“I think there are still too many loopholes due to a lack of articulation and coordination.”Françoise Brié, director of the National Federation of Women Solidarity
The report on Mérignac’s feminicide rightly insists on the need for better communication at all levels, recommending that “the domestic violence referents of each administration are systematically informed of all the procedures in progress”. The creation of a file of perpetrators of domestic violence, like the file of perpetrators of sexual violence, is one of the proposals adopted by the government to facilitate the exchange of information. On this point, lawyers and magistrates are cautious. “The file of perpetrators of domestic violence means that they have already been convicted, it’s called the criminal record”, notes lawyer Michelle Dayan. “We have to look at how this file will be fed. If we register someone there from the first complaint, that questions us a little”, abounds Catherine Vandier, of USM.