Brussels (Brussels Morning) France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced a series of measures on Sunday to reduce rising domestic violence figures in France. Statistics now indicatie that domestic violence is becoming the primary reason for police interventions in the country.
In an interview with La Parisien, Darmanin revealed the official figures for “violent deaths within a couple” for 2020, saying that 102 women and 23 men were killed in domestic violence incidents last year.
The Interior Minister noted that the figure represented a 15-year low, despite many couples having been forced to spend more time together in closed spaces due to the pandemic lockdowns imposed in 2020. Only a year prior, 146 cases of femicide were reported in a 12- month period.
Despite the encouraging drop in fatal cases, Darmanin emphasised that the overall number of police and gendarmerie interventions remains high. More than 400,000 interventions were reported in 2020, an average of 45 per hour. He noted that domestic violence interventions are becoming the primary reason for police interventions.
Darmanin remarked that “not a day goes by” without law enforcement officials having to go in the field to “free a woman or children taken hostage”.
Acknowledging the seriousness of the situation, Darmanin announced that processing domestic violence complaints is to be given priority in the future. He also pledged to appoint an officer specialised in handling domestic violence cases to each police station and each gendarmerie brigade in the country.
Darmanin also wants each police department to include specialised family protection teams charged with curtailing domestic violence. Commenting on the fact that a third of femicides involve the use of a firearm, the Interior Minister said he intends to compile a list of people charged with domestic violence and link the list to the gun owners’ register, the aim being to prevent registered domestic violence offenders from owning firearms.