A national center for victims of violence should be created

A national center for victims of violence should be created
A national center for victims of violence should be created

1,057 compared to 938 in 2022. The bar of 1,000 police interventions for acts of domestic violence carried out by the Grand Ducal police was therefore exceeded in 2023. This corresponds to an increase of 7.5%. A sad record, while the number of home evictions remains stable, with 246 annual cases.

Yuriko Backes (DP), Minister of Gender Equality and Diversity, clearly recognizes that “domestic violence is a reality in Luxembourg”. If the exercise of presenting this report carried out by the Cooperation Committee between professionals in the field of the fight against violence is a first for the minister, she nonetheless wanted to make it clear from the outset that she met with “the various field actors involved in the chain of intervention in matters of domestic violence”.

Two flagship projects to combat domestic violence

The members of the Committee were also consulted, in this overview carried out with the aim of “strengthening [une] holistic approach and working with all those concerned, namely, victims, perpetrators and witnesses in all their diversity to ensure a lasting impact of the aid. Because this violence concerns women and men, but also children, often caught in this vicious spiral.

Also, Yuriko Backes is convinced that “the protection of victims, the accountability and punishment of perpetrators as well as information and prevention must reinforce each other”. With this in mind, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Diversity is already preparing the implementation of two new flagship projects, which were mentioned in the CSV-DP government coalition agreement.

The most significant announcement undoubtedly remains the establishment of a national center for victims of violence focused on reception and support. It will be open 24 hours a day and will offer global assistance. To best optimize this virtuous project, set up to help “break and escape the cycle of violence”, a questionnaire was distributed to 120 actors involved in the theme.

The only thing that could tarnish this project remains the lack of psychologists often observed for other problems, such as the mental health problems of young people or even addiction problems. Especially since the SAVVD, the free assistance service for victims of domestic violence, recorded a definite decrease in psychological consultations in 2023 over a period of six months, precisely due to the absence of psychologists available.

Furthermore, an adaptation of the amended law of September 8, 2003 on domestic violence by the introduction of support and especially monitoring which will become compulsory for perpetrators of violence by the Riicht Eraus service is also in preparation. “Holding perpetrators accountable and punishing them is essential, because the equation is simple: fewer perpetrators means fewer victims.”

Finally, more generally, the development of a first national “Gender-based violence” plan is put on the table, as recommended by GREVIO which reported on the situation in Luxembourg in July 2023.

GREVIO recommendations will be taken into account

As a reminder, GREVIO is a body of independent experts responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence by signatory countries.

In its observations, the body returned to the figures and statistics presented each year in the Grand Duchy, concluding that we cannot, despite the substantial basis of the figures, establish with certainty how many women and children are victims and how many men are perpetrators of violence.

We always talk about women victims but not men, while the Istanbul Convention recognizes that violence can also concern men as victims.

Isabelle Schroeder

Ministry of Gender Equality and Diversity

However, the convention requires the collection of reliable statistics on violence against women. GREVIO therefore criticizes Luxembourg for the fact that there are no statistics on the different forms of violence, such as economic, psychological, sexual violence, harassment, etc.

The biggest problem remains the figure concerning women perpetrators of violence. The Grand Duchy is the only country to mention this data in its annual report and GREVIO considers that this demonstrates a problem in the way of collecting data. Especially since these women perpetrators of violence just happen to be… victims of violence themselves.

Certain exceptions specific to the Grand Duchy will be maintained

Yuriko Backes assures that things will be done differently in the future and that GREVIO’s recommendations will serve as concrete bases. The opportunity for the minister to add that the deputies, who discovered the report on June 25 in the House, had also formulated questions along these lines.

Isabelle Schroeder, the president of the Committee, however, recalled that Luxembourg had indicated to the Council of Europe that it would apply the Istanbul Convention not only for women and girls, but also for men and boys. . “The fact that there are male victims is little discussed, particularly at European level. We always talk about women victims but not men, while the Istanbul Convention recognizes that violence can also concern men as victims.”

Developments are therefore planned, but not necessarily a renunciation of the collection of data visible nowhere else.

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