Domestic violence: ‘A woman is killed every three days’ in France

A total of 121 women were killed by their partner or former partner in France last year, equating to one death every three days, government figures have revealed.

Domestic violence: 'A woman is killed every three days' in France
Photo: Depositphotos
The numbers were made public just days after the French government announced it would hold a major consultation on domestic violence in order to stamp out gender-based murder and violence against women.
Collated by a unit of the interior ministry responsible for liaising with victims, the figure was slightly lower than a year earlier when 130 women died after suffering domestic violence but similar to 2016, when there were 123 deaths. 
Out of the 121 cases, 26 were classed as murder, 85 as manslaughter and 10 deaths occurred when women succumbed to injuries sustained during an attack. 
So far this year, 76 women have died as a result of “femicide” — murder at the hands of a husband or partner.

France to step up action against domestic violence as hundreds take to the streetsPhoto: AFP

On average, 219,000 women between the ages of 18 and 75 experience physical or sexual violence every year at the hands of their current or former partner, 
government figures show. 
Three out of four victims say it has happened on a repeated basis, and eight out of 10 report suffering from psychological or verbal abuse. 
One death every three days
“So a crime resulting in death happens within a couple every two-and-a-half days and a woman dies at the hands of her partner or ex-partner every three days,” said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa in a joint statement.
The figures also said 28 men had died as a result of domestic violence, 15 of whom “had previously been violent” to their partner. 
At the weekend, more than 1,200 protesters took to the streets of Paris to demand action on domestic violence after a woman in her 30s was strangled at her home. 
And on Sunday, Schiappa announced that the government would begin a major public consultation on domestic violence in early September involving ministers, experts, public services and the victims' families. 
But feminist collective #NousToutes (“All of Us”) said action was needed immediately. 
 “Mr President, violence does not take a holiday,” it said in a statement. “Women are in danger right now.”
Although La Fondation des Femmes (The Women's Foundation) described it as “a first positive step”, it said victims needed “real and concrete measures, with funding” and not just “another awareness campaign”.

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French court acquits four over death of British schoolgirl

A French court on Wednesday acquitted three English teachers and a lifeguard accused over the 2015 drowning of a 12-year-old British schoolgirl in France.

French court acquits four over death of British schoolgirl

Jessica Lawson drowned in July 2015 after a swim in a lake with 23 other British children on a school trip. She died after the pontoon they were playing on capsized near Limoges in southwest central France.

The trial began Tuesday in nearby Tulle, attended by the child’s parents.

The suspects including the teachers from Hull, northeast England, and the lifeguard on duty at the time were charged with manslaughter caused by a “deliberate breach of safety or caution”.

The judges said on Wednesday there were too many elements in the case that were unclear including exactly when the child disappeared in the water.

The court also could not establish a link between the pontoon overturning and the schoolgirl’s death.

The local authority was also cleared of any role in the death.

It was the lifeguard who had found the missing child at the bottom of the lake (lac de la Triouzoune) on July 21 and she was airlifted to hospital. She died the next day.

The public prosecutor had requested a suspended sentence of three years for the teachers and the same for the lifeguard, who was 21 years old at the time, as well as a lifetime ban on doing similar work.

The suspects denied that they had failed to provide proper surveillance.

A lawyer for the schoolgirl’s family said they hoped the public prosecutor would appeal the court’s decision, pointing to many issues.

“A young girl of 12 disappeared, the pontoon was dangerous and there was an obvious lack of surveillance. Another court must hear this,” lawyer Eloi Chan told AFP.