REPORTS of domestic abuse are rising in many countries – in the European Union, nearly 25 percent of women say they’ve been physically abused by a partner.
A new organisation in Spain is providing help to women in crisis.
Spain has a growing concern. Last year, there were more than 28,000 officially registered female victims of gender violence. A 2.4 per cent increase on the previous year, with many more cases going unreported.
‘Violence against women is the biggest problem in Spain at this moment,’ Ana Maria Perez del Campo, president of the Federation of Separated and Divorced Women told CGTN.
‘There is a huge amount of regression in this country. We’re going backwards.’
The increase in domestic abuse for the second year in a row is a real concern for Spanish authorities, underlining the desperate situation many women find themselves in.
But there is one group who offers hope.
EDEMM is an organisation that offers 24-hour protection to vulnerable women free of charge. The project was set up by Carolina, a former police bodyguard, who prefers not to reveal her last name. The identities of its staff members are kept confidential.
‘We train bodyguards and provide protection for women when they obtain court orders,’ Carolina told CGTN.
‘We fill in the gaps. We help to enforce restraining orders and provide assurance for women who are afraid to go outside.’
Carolina first set up the project in Bilbao and it now has operations across Spain, although funding remains a problem.
‘We want this idea to go international,’ Carolina told CGTN.
‘That’s what we’re working towards, because there are victims all over the world.’
The project is not a solution to the issue of gender violence, but for many women in Spain, it has been life changing.