“Programme for the security of and support to victims of gender and domestic violence” Generalitat of Catalonia, Spain, 2012
TERRITORY: the whole of Catalonia
REGION: Autonomous Community (region) of Catalonia
This programme started in 2011 and will be implemented until 2015 in two phases:
Phase 1 (2011-2012)
- Elaboration of new guidelines for police support to victims and the modernisation of police equipments in the nine regions of Catalonia. Training of police forces and installation of new technologies.
- Pilot test for the evaluation of police risk.
Phase 2 (2013-2015)
- Monitoring and assessment of the technological solution adopted for the monitoring of victims and police protection.
- Test of the police risk evaluation tool. Analysis of the results and proposals for improvement.
- Training of the staff on how to correctly fill the document.
- Modification of the operational documents of the police in order to include these new tools. Elaboration of a new police model.
Security Plan, gender and domestic violence, protection of victims by the police, police
The police of Catalonia (the regional police, or Mossos d’Esquadra, and the local police) enforces the law and guarantees public security. It plays a fundamental role since it guarantees citizens’ rights and liberties, as stipulated in the article 104 of the Spanish Constitution. “Security and police forces have the duty, under the authority of the government, to protect the free practise of individual rights and liberties and to ensure public security.” Gender violence violates the fundamental rights of women and thus prevents them to be full citizens who enjoy autonomy and freedom.
The “Programme for the security of and support to victims of gender and domestic violence” responds to the need to fight abuse against the most vulnerable citizens -women, children and elderly people. This problem is not limited to Catalonia but affects the whole of Spain.
The person who is victim of violence is placed at the heart of the intervention of the police. This is the basis on which all police activities are structured.
Risk management contributes to the protection of the victim against her attacker, and includes her environment. As part of their prevention actions, the police analyse the environment of the victim and identify what elements she can use to protect herself. They also identify risk factors. The objective is to “neutralise” the risk of crime.
The strategic objectives are:
– to significantly reduce the number of victims;
– to ensure the security of victims;
– to improve support to victims.
- This programme is targeted to victims of gender violence, which accounts for 80% of all crimes related to harassment and abuse.
- It also covers so-called domestic violence committed by one invidual against one or more members of the family. The analysis shows clearly two groups of victims: children and elderly people.
- The gender of the victim is a factor. Indeed, women are more often victims of this type of violence. Girls and young women are most often victims of violence committed by closely related persons.
- It is important to note that three groups of victims (women, children and elderly people) usually do not report to the police, and this obviously makes it more difficult to identify cases and to intervene. This is why it is important to conduct preventive work within a network.
Activities and Strategy
The actions contemplated in this plan respond to three strategic goals:
- Analysing the environment: knowing the environment of the victim is key to better prevent crime, in particular serious crime. The purpose is to gather concise and precise information on the environment of the victim, in order to intervene in a more efficient and targeted manner. The general objective is to reduce violence and insecurity for victims of domestic and gender violence.
- Evaluation of the risks by the police. It is one of the key elements of the new intervention model. The purpose is to prevent known attackers to commit a homicide or any other serious crime without proper intervention by the authorities. Evaluation allows to adopt a series of measures that reduce or eliminate the identified risk, and thus minimise negative consequences for the victim.
- Technical solutions to monitor victims improve the model for the support to victims used by the police of Catalonia. This tool takes into account the various types of victims of domestic and gender violence. This technological solution is innovative and includes interfaces with other programmes run by other departments of the Catalonia government; the connection with various security schemes; the creation of tasks adapted to the various levels of risk, and automatic information update.
The Department of the Interior of Catalonia manages the “Programme for the security of and support to victims of gender and domestic violence” through the Support and Care to Victims Unit (USAV according to the Spanish acronym).
- Department of the Interior of the Generalitat (regional government) of Catalonia
- Support and Care to Victims Unit (USAV)
- The Generalitat police (Mossos d’Esquadra)
- This project has received support from various institutions, in particular the social branch of the regional savings bank La Caixa, the Catalan Institute of Women (Institut Català de les Dones), the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Other departments of the Generalitat have also contributed.
The annual budget for activities linked to this programme varies according to the phases being rolled out.
It is a early to evaluate the impact of this programme launched in 2011. At the end of the current phase (2013-2015), there will be an evaluation of the strategic change. The medium term impact will be assessed. Once rolled out, the new model will also be evaluated.
As of today, we can see that the new technological tools for the monitoring and protection of victims (called Integral System of Attention to Victims, ISAV) has improved the management of data and the control of the monitoring of victims. By using these tools, police groups who are specialised in care to victims have improved their work. In particular, they now know exactly how many victims they are following.
Elements that contribute to the success of this programme:
The “Programme for the security of and support to victims of gender and domestic violence” is included in the new policy for public security and support to victims, which is a permanent political strategy of the department of the Interior of the government of Catalonia. The following factors have been important in the conception and implementation of the programme:
– A revamping of the previous model of attention to victims of gender and domestic violence;
– the creation of tools enabling the police to better fight this type of violence, in particular the Integral System of Attention to Victims (ISAV) and tools to evaluate risks;
– collaboration with other departments of the government of Catalonia is also key to fight this type of violence.
This is why the programme includes the creation of cross-cutting work groups with other departments dealing with gender and domestic violence, and the implementation of joint actions.
Given the current economic crisis in Spain, the biggest threat is the lack of financial resources, which could slow down the implementation of all the planned actions between the Municipal Police and the local community.
The programme is underway and more work is being carried out to consolidate the new model of attention to victims, which will be based on four principles: prevention, detection, attention and recovery or protection.
Website of the government of Catalonia: www.gencat.cat
The Support and Care to Victims Unit (USAV) – information in Catalan: http://interior.gencat.cat/ca/00_-_minisites/ms_-_psav/01_que_es_el_pla/09_la_unitat_de_suport_a_latencio_de_victimes
This practice sheet was updated on: 13 February 2013