FEMALE victims of assault in Spain take an average of more than five years to report crimes to the police, a Supreme Court judge has claimed.
Vicente Magro said women waited so long to tell authorities about assault cases because they believe society and the justice system will not help them.
It comes as the General Council of the Judiciary’s Observatory on Domestic and Gender Violence has published a guide on how authorities can best care for assault victims.
Advice in the new guidebook included allowing women to record their testimonies or to appear in court and police interviews via video link to avoid unnecessary suffering.
Magro said it was “fundamental” that female victims of gender violence and assault did not feel at risk of institutional “abuse” when reporting crimes. They should also be treated properly when reporting such incidents, the judge added.
Magro said the newly-published guide on gender violence should help to improve awareness among officials in the justice system on how best to look after victims.
Other positive developments in the Spanish justice system included the creation of specific courts to deal with gender violence, Magro added. Spain was the first country in Europe to establish such courts.
The judge’s comments come as Spain’s justice system has come under fire this year for what some claim is its bias against female victims.
Protests erupted across Spain after five defendants were cleared of rape in connection with the assault of an 18-year-old woman in Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls festival.
They were convicted of the lesser charge of sexual assault and further demonstrations took place after they were bailed pending an appeal.