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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‘Trauma and sadness’ 33 years after British student’s murder in France

Family members of a British student murdered in France in 1990 gave emotional testimony to a French court on Monday in the trial of the widow of serial killer Michel Fourniret who kidnapped, raped and murdered the 20-year-old.

'Trauma and sadness' 33 years after British student's murder in France

Monique Olivier is currently standing trial in Paris accused of involvement in the murders by Fourniret of two young women, including the British student Joanna Parrish, and a nine-year-old girl.

After Fourniret himself died in 2021 aged 79 before he could be brought to trial for the three killings at issue, Olivier is the families’ only link to the truth of what happened to their loved ones.

“Joanna’s story ended in May 1990. The bright, beautiful and talented 20-year-old with the world at her feet was never able to have the life she wanted or deserved,” her father Roger told the court.

You can hear the team at The Local France discussing the Fourniret case and its ongoing impact in France on the latest episode of the Talking France podcast. Download here or listen on the link below

Wearing a tan jacket and roll neck sweater, the 80-year-old occasionally paused to hold back tears, taking sips of water before going on in a steady voice.

“There can be no greater tragedy than losing a child… when those circumstances are a deliberate act of murder, it further adds to the disbelief, anger, trauma and sadness,” he said.

Olivier, now aged 79 and serving a life sentence issued in 2008, is on trial for her part in the abduction, rape and murder of Joanna in 1990, and another woman, 18-year-old Marie-Angele Domece in 1988.

She is also charged with complicity in the disappearance of nine-year-old Estelle Mouzin in 2003, whose body has never been found two decades on despite intensive searches.

Domece’s remains have also never been found, while Parrish’s naked body was recovered from the Yonne river in the French department of the same name.

The cases have been dogged for decades by slip-ups and delays in the justice system that plaintiffs blame for the failure to bring Fourniret to trial.

Fourniret himself said of Domece and Parrish in 2018 that “I am the only one responsible for their fates… If those people had not crossed my path, they would still be alive”.