Demonstration against gender violence in Malaga in a file image. / ÑITO SALAS

Violence against women has increased: 25.4% more victims sought help in 2021

The regional government has said that the figures in the latest report on the situation in Andalucía last year are "devastating"

JOSÉ LUIS PIEDRA SEVILLE.

Today, 25 November, is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, addressing a subject which is still having a major impact on society despite the efforts and resources aimed at eradicating it by the authorities in recent years.

What's more, the problem appears to be getting worse: the number of victims who receive attention from the Junta de Andalucía's services is increasing. For example, cases of help provided to women who have suffered gender violence rose by 25.45 per cent in Andalucía in 2021, according to the regional government's annual report on gender violence.

The latest report was presented to the regional Cabinet earlier this week by the Junta's minister for Social Inclusion, Youth, Families and Equality, Loles López. She described the figures as "devastating".

This report shows that during the past year nine women in Andalucía died as a result of gender violence, and women's centres in the region provided assistance for 31,566 victims, which was 25.1 per cent more than in 2020.

The report, which will now be sent to the Andalusian parliament, provides an overview of how gender violence is evolving and its incidence in the region.

The study reported that there had been a total of 32,745 women victims of gender violence in Andalucía last year, which is 20.55 per cent of all cases in Spain. The rate of victims per 10,000 women was higher in Andalucía than in the country as a whole.

Also during last year, 5,371 men were taken to court for violence against women, and 76.67% of them were Spanish. Of the total, 87.40% were found guilty and sentenced, the report says.

Not being reported

The report also highlights the fact that one of the problems is silence about what is happening and the lack of official reports of gender violence, as only 11.11 per cent of the women who died last year had previously reported violent behaviour towards them.

The Junta de Andalucía considers it essential to overcome women's fears and encourage them and those around them to report violent behaviour, so that something can be done about it more quickly and progress can be made towards eliminating the problem completely.

The helpline at the Andalusian Institute for Women received 39,588 calls last year and the women and children who are looked after by this organisation grew by nearly five per cent, to a total of 2,352.

The Junta's Assistance Service for Victims in Andalucía (SAVA), which has a presence in every province in the region, attended to 6,637 women last year, which was a considerable increase on the 5,201 victims of gender violence who were supported in 2020.

Measures

The report from the Junta also says that last year 8,123 protection orders and measures were put into effect in Andalucía, which accounted for 21.8% of all those in Spain.

According to the VioGén system, which last year registered a total of 154,799 cases of gender violence in Andalucía, of which 19,293 were active. This was an increase of four per cent compared with 2020.

With these "devastating" figures to hand, the Social Inclusion minister, Loles López, called on colleagues to continue working to improve the situation and she asked for unity in this battle, which she described as "a collective challenge for everybody, in which there is no place for ideologies or flags".

The Andalusian government has also taken stock of the actions which were put into effect last year within the framework of the national pact against gender violence.

These included 60 projects to provide assistance to victims, professional training, prevention and research and involved seven ministries and an investment of nearly 25 million euros.