As many women murdered by partners so far this year as in all 2020

Organisation criticises latest victim unsuccessfully attempted to report her partner four times before she was killed

3 min
Minute of silence in Sabadell for the sexist crime that was known on July 22.

BarcelonaIn the last eleven weeks six women have been murdered by their current or former partner in Catalonia. Since the end of the last state of alarm, this number has increased, and this year so far there have been as many cases as in all of last year: a total of eight. The latest still does not appear in official statistics because Antonella, the woman murdered in Sant Vicenç de Castellet, is yet to be officially identified. The body was so badly burnt a DNA test will be necessary, delaying the process. In addition, the police have opened another investigation after a woman was murdered in Sabadell. The body was located on Tuesday at a home and the police have been unable to identify the victim due to the bad state of the corpse.

Women murdered by their current or former partners in Catalonia

The crime of Antonella, on Friday last week, happened on the same day as another in Cambrils, in which Pamela lost her life. In this case, the judge saw "signs of suffocation" in the corpse. Without including the case in Sabadell (the police are yet to arrive at any conclusions), the number of murders so far this year stands at eight - the first two were in April. The figure is grim and already equals the number of murders recorded last year.

The secretary of the Catalan Department for Feminism, Montserrat Pineda, says we should not only focus on women murdered by their partners but on all gender-based violence, because many times "it doesn't end in a murder but in an attempt, an injury or harm". In addition, it means including other victims, such as the woman who was killed by her son in Badia del Vallès.

The police explained recently that gender-based violence perpetrated during lockdown has begun to "surface". It was suspected it had been underreported because the victims had to stay at home, sometimes with their partners, even when they had restraining orders against them. The recovery of freedom of movement has led to cases coming to light and also to the aggressors having less control over their victims, which is thought to be behind an increase in violence against women. Even so, Pineda points out that the pandemic continues after having left "scores of women in precarious situations and suffering from poverty". She recalls that the fact of not having access to housing and a job also affects male violence.

Lawyer Marisa Fernández, from Dones Juristes, speaks of a structural phenomenon that must be changed with education and training. In September, the Department of Equality and Feminisms will convene the Generalitat's analysis group of gender-based violence - with representatives of the Catalan police, Children's Services and the Departments of Justice, Education and Health - to address recent crimes.

Failure to report

The feminist group Punt Lila of Sant Pere de Terrassa, which had helped Antonella, has made public that the victim attempted to report her aggressor up to four times to no avail. Mireia C., from this organisation, specifies that the first contact was on April 13, when they accompanied her to the Catalan police (a.k.a. Mossos d'Esquadra) station in Terrassa, where she lived, and the officers told them that they needed a medical report to denounce her partner's mistreatment. When they returned the next day with the report, the complaint was not accepted because Antonella showed no physical injuries. Mireia C. adds they went to the police station on two more occasions, when the woman wanted to report that the man for changing the lock of the house and after a fight. Police sources say they will not comment on the case until the identification of the victim has been completed.

Mireia C. recalls that in the end they reported it to Terrassa Local Police, where they were able to file a complaint for abuse. This led to a case of verbal violence, which was to be heard in the violence against women Court in Terrassa in October. Mireia C. criticizes the treatment received by the Mossos d'Esquadra and regrets that Antonella did not receive any protection - a restraining order was refused - despite not having any family nearby, as they live in Argentina.

As for her 20-month-old daughter, she has been taken in by the Children's Services. Officials say they are considering sending the baby to Argentina to live with her family. She also guarantees that the Government will pay, if necessary, the cost of the trip and the repatriation of the mother's body, as well as committing to pay the economic compensation for children of victims of gender-based violence.