Rhodes Law takes another leap forward in protecting victims of abuse in Spain.
THE rights of abuse victims in Spain has taken a huge step forward after the Social Rights Commission of the Congress of Deputies approved a draft bill of the groundbreaking Rhodes Law on Wednesday, April 7. The draft, which has caused much controversy and has been subject to dozens of revisions, will pass to the Plenary Meeting next week for a final debate.
Driven by the Department of Social Rights, the new legislature, if approved, will extend the statute of limitations on serious crimes against minors until they are 30 years of age, whereas it currently runs out when they turn 18. Additionally, the law will prohibit the hiring of anyone who has been previously convicted of abusing a minor to jobs dealing with children, such as schools and leisure centres.
A specific article is included to prevent parents gaining joint custody of a child in a family environment where gender violence has been observed, and a comprehensive care package will be provided for children who have been subject to violent crimes of a sexual or gender-based nature.
Specialist units within the authorities will be developed to deal with victims of abuse and dedicated training will be provided to judges and prosecutors. One of the major changes will be the removal of the use of the so-called Parental Alienation Syndrome (SAP), which has long been accused of allowing undue parental influence over abuse cases.
Guarantees will also be strengthened so that minors can participate in legal proceedings; a judge will therefore be prevented from rejecting the testimony of a minor “due to lack of maturity,” according to Spanish daily 20 minutos. The proposal put forward by several parties to prevent children attending bullfights has not been approved.
Rhodes Law is named after the pianist James Rhodes, who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child and has since become instrumental in advocating for the rights of victims in Spain.
“The approval of this law is going to be a historic step so that current and future generations of children and adolescents can grow up free of violence,” second vice president of the Government, Pablo Iglesias said.