THE Spanish government’s Gender Violence delegate Blanca Hernandez has announced a 10 per cent increase in victims calling the 016 helpline, saying calls reached a record high of 35,714 over the first six months of the year, and the number of women reporting incidents to the police also increased.
Hernandez announced the figures while speaking at the Congress’ Health and Social Services Commission to present the department’s budget for next year, which is for €25.22 million.
The delegate stressed that the increase of €1.5 million in the budget compared to that of 2015 showed the government’s wish to achieve a society free of gender violence.
More than 60 per cent of the budget will be used for direct assistance to victims via the 016 helpline and the gender violence specialist Asenpro protection and assistance services, along with transfers to regions for social assistance (€5 million) and coordination programmes (€1 million.)
Hernandez pointed out that Asenpro services currently have 10,485 users, four per cent more than last year.
According to data from the General Justice Council, 126,742 women made reports of abuse in 2014, a 1.5 per cent increase on figures for 2013, and 1.2 per cent more offenders were sentenced by the courts.
Meanwhile opposition socialist MP Angeles Alvarez pointed out that the budget to fight gender violence was 17 per cent lower than in 2011, when the government spent €30 million, and complained about a lack of awareness and prevention campaigns. She said the budget was disappointing.
“Prevention is the way to stop these crimes, not jailing people who have already committed them,” Alvarez said.
The 2016 budget includes €3.9 million for electronic tags to ensure restraining orders are obeyed. At present there are 739 of these tags being used compared to 680 a year ago.
There have been improvements to coordination systems recently to ensure that prisoners out on temporary release or who have completed their sentence wear their tag.