Experts claim Spain ‘fails children’ in domestic violence cases

FOLLOWING recent horrific events in Spain, where in total four children in one week were allegedly killed by their fathers, some experts have said the country’s domestic violence protocols are failing to protect children.

The cases include a man in Castelldefels, near Barcelona, who is believed to have killed himself after killing his partner and their two children, after police had reportedly been called to the couple’s home repeatedly as neighbours raised fears about violence.

Spain’s new Infancy Law recognises special protection must be put in place for children whose mothers are victims of gender violence, and that judges should be cautious when considering custody and access rights for the father. 

Some legal experts say the new law is a step forward but reflects how much work has to be done on this issue.

Speaking to Spanish daily El Pais, Granada University law lecturer and a former government representative on gender violence, Miguel Lorente, said: “The first step in a case of domestic violence should be a systematic evaluation of the risks faced by the children, but in many cases the courts don’t do this and claim it’s unnecessary.” 

The PSOE socialist party has called on the government to implement a system of risk-evaluation, which would give judges clear powers to put special conditions in place for children believed to be at risk from domestic violence. 

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