President sets out plan to tackle violence against women
(27 November 2017)
On International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, on 25 November, the French President delivered a speech setting out a plan based on prevention, victim support and a toughening of sanctions against the perpetrators of violence.
The President’s speech came at a time when women are increasingly speaking out against the violence directed against them (in 2016 some 93,000 adult women were the victims of rape or attempted rape, but fewer than one in 10 victims came forward).
Even before he was elected, Emmanuel Macron made a very strong commitment to gender equality, promising to make it the main cause of his five-year term.
I pledged that the great cause of the five-year term would be gender equality. The first pillar is combating violence against women #NeRienLaisserPasser https://twitter.com/EmmanuelMacron/status/839530418189680640
Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron), 25 November 2017
The government’s appointment, at the beginning of its term of office, of Marlène Schiappa as Minister of State for Gender Equality attached to the Prime Minister was another illustration of this commitment. In 2018 the Minister of State’s Office will be given a budget of €30 million – the highest level ever achieved for the department. This budget will be ring-fenced throughout the five-year term.
The speech led to the presentation of a plan to prevent and combat sexist and sexual violence, based on measures aimed at better protecting women, supporting victims more effectively and punishing perpetrators of violence more severely.
• To encourage people to come forward, an online service to report incidents will be created for victims of violence, harassment or discrimination, who will be able, from home, to talk to contacts in police stations and find out what steps to take.
• Gathering evidence in hospital forensic units will also be made possible even if the person does not wish to report an offence.
• Among other measures, there will be a digital app for victims of cyber harassment and another to allow buses to be stopped on demand at night, an initiative already trialled in several French communes.
• The legislation part of the plan is provided for in the bill prepared by Nicole Belloubet and Marlène Schiappa. It will be presented in the first half of 2018 and will provide, among other things, for the criminalization of street harassment, the extension of the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against minors and the introduction of a minimum age below which it would be presumed that a minor had not consented to sexual relations.
• As regards prevention, pornography is going to be targeted, with an awareness-raising campaign launched by the Ministry of National Education and action carried out with the parents of those attending collège [school catering for pupils aged approximately between 11 and 15].