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Spain aims to reject visas of tourists with gender violence record

The Local Spain/AFP
The Local Spain/AFP - [email protected]
Spain aims to reject visas of tourists with gender violence record
Spain's divisive Equality Minister Irene Montero is set on ending the scourge of gender violence in the country, but some of the legislation she's spearheaded has been flawed. Photo: BORJA PUIG DE LA BELLACASA/LA MONCLOA/AFP

Spain's Equality Ministry has proposed a European database of gender violence that will allow Spanish authorities to better monitor and potentially reject the visa applications of foreign tourists with a criminal record.

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Spain's Ministry of Equality has proposed that VioGén, the Spanish police monitoring system for victims of gender violence, be replicated at the European or Schengen level, and hinted at the possibility of sharing the criminal records of foreign tourists.

During a Ministry crisis committee meeting, set up amid a surge in cases of gender violence in Spain in recent months, a European-wide system for the protection of victims was suggested, as well as the possibility of cooperation and sharing between European states of criminal records of foreign tourists arriving on long-term tourist visas.

The proposal is set to be studied in depth by Spain's Equality Ministry.

In 2023, some of the victims of gender violence in Spain were foreign women in the country for tourism or for long-term stays.

There have been two reported cases of gang rapes carried out by young European tourists on holiday in Spain this summer, and numerous other news of physical and sexual abuse carried out by foreign holidaymakers.

As such, in addition to the creation of some kind of victims monitoring system, sources in the Ministry told the Spanish press about the possibility of data being shared regarding "episodes of violence against women, in particular criminal records, for tourist visas" starting with long-term stays but with the possibility of applying it to others.

READ ALSO: Shock as Spain tells foreigners how to cancel their criminal record

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This comes amid an uptick in femicides in Spain. In September alone, ten women were murdered by their partner or ex-partner. That is the worst September on record, tied with September 2018.

As a result of those 10 murder, 5 children were orphaned. In total, 50 have lost their mothers due to sexist violence in 2023. Since 2013, the figure is 427.

This week's crisis committee was the fifth of 2023 after those held in January (7 deaths), May (6), July (8) and August (7). The objective of these crisis committees is to detect failures in the victim protection system so they are repeated in the future.

The Ministry also proposed expanding ATENPRO, the Telephone Attention and Protection Service for victims of gender violence.

In June Spain's Interior Ministry launched a major plan to try and combat gender violence in the country. The Strategic Plan for the Prevention of Sexual Violence 2023-2027, the first programme of its kind approved by the European Union, will provide funding and new training for police, as well as new technological methods to both prevent sexual violence and provide improved aftercare for victims.

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