Since 1999, by decision of the United Nations General Assembly, on November 25 commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, with the objective of raising society's awareness of the problem of violence suffered by women and the serious violation of the fundamental rights of women throughout the world.
For this reason, the Council of Ministers of November 22 approved the following Declaration:
"On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, on November 25, the Government of Spain declares its determined commitment to continue dedicating all its efforts to combat violence against women in all its manifestations, its solidarity with the victims and their strongest condemnation of attitudes and acts of violence towards women on the grounds of sex or gender, guaranteeing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women.
Violence against women is the most brutal manifestation of the inequality in our society as a result of historically unequal power relations between women and men.
As the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers indicates to the member states of the Council of Europe to prevent and combat sexism, approved on March 27, 2019, violence against women is linked to sexism, which creates a climate of intimidation, fear, discrimination, exclusion and insecurity that limits women's opportunities and freedom. Sexism is reinforced by gender stereotypes that affect women and men, and girls and boys, and prevents the achievement of gender equality and the establishment of societies that are just, inclusive and free from violence against women. That is why the Council of Europe Convention on prevention and fight against violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), ratified by Spain in 2014, forces to promote changes in sociocultural modes of behavior with a view to eradicating any practice based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on a stereotyped role of women and men.
In that sense the Report of the Subcommittee of Congress for a State Pact on Gender Violence, approved by the Plenary Session of the Congress of Deputies in September 2017, urges the elimination of gender-based stereotypes and prejudices in order to eradicate the image of inequality and involve the whole society in the fight against sexism and violence against women. The achievement of these objectives requires education in respect for human rights, non-discrimination between women and men and in the rejection of any form of violence against women. In addition, the contribution of the media is essential to promote awareness, the dissemination of positive and non-stereotyped images of women and men that avoid the reproduction of sexist roles.
This year 2019 celebrates 40 years of the approval of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which Spain ratified in 1984, and which urges States to adopt policies and measures to advance equality between men and women. Also within the scope of the United Nations, Spain supports the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and supports resolutions on the matter adopted in the Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, approved at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in 2015 in New York, contemplates gender equality among Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5) and, among its goals, the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls. Similarly, gender equality is mainstreamed in other SDGs, the SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).
In December 2019, 15 years of approval, unanimously by the Congress of Deputies, of the Organic Law 1/2004, of December 28, of Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence, which represents a milestone in public policies aimed at combating violence against women. A pioneer law in the world that has made Spain an international benchmark. For the first time, a normative instrument addresses gender-based violence in an integral and multidisciplinary way, covering both preventive, educational, social, assistance and victim assistance aspects, including civil regulations that affect the family or coexistence environment where mainly the aggressions take place, like the punitive answer before the manifestations of violence. The aforementioned organic law provides a global legal response that covers both procedural norms, through the creation of new instances such as the Courts of Violence on Women and the Office of the Prosecutor's Office against Violence against Women, such as criminal and civil substantive rules, including aspects related to the training of all agents, health, police and legal, responsible for caring for and protecting victims.
In these three five years since the approval of Organic Law 1/2004, of December 28, it has undergone four modifications: in terms of orphan's pensions; to guarantee free legal assistance to victims; to increase the protection of minor children and children subject to guardianship or guardianship of victims of gender violence; and the most recent, in 2018, to incorporate some of the measures provided for in the State Pact against Gender Violence approved in 2017 and in the Istanbul Convention.
Recently and in order to continue advancing in the fulfillment of the State Pact, important norms such as the Organic Law 5/2018, of December 28, of reform of the Organic Law 6/1985, of July 1, of the Judiciary, on urgent measures in application of the State Pact in matters of gender violence that addresses aspects related to the specialized training of the Judicial and Fiscal Careers and the introduction of specialization tests to access specialized judicial bodies.
Also, in 2019, the Law 3/2019, of March 1, to improve the situation of orphans of daughters and sons of victims of gender violence and other forms of violence against women, establishes the "provision of orphanhood" for the daughters and sons of deceased women as a result of violence against women in those cases in which the mother had not previously contributed or had not contributed the minimum time to generate the right to the orphan's pension; while improving the legal system of the orphan's pension when the death has occurred as a result of violence against women. In addition, the Royal Decree-Law 6/2019, of March 1, of urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities between women and men in employment and occupation, which allows progress in equality and prevention of violence against women in the workplace through the implementation of measures to avoid sexual and sexual harassment.
Throughout 2019, progress has been made in compliance with the measures of the State Pact against Gender Violence, measures whose execution is a responsibility shared by all public administrations, institutions and powers of the State.
However, despite the efforts of all Public Administrations and the existence of international, national and regional standards that guarantee the principle of gender equality and the prohibition of any act of gender-based violence, there is still a gap between the principles enshrined in these norms and practice, between legal and real and effective gender equality. Despite the efforts made so far, violence against women persists today. In Spain, in 2019, the tragic figure of more than a thousand women killed by their partners or ex-partners has been reached since they began registering these murders in 2003. A violence that has claimed the lives of 1,027 women and, since 2013, of 34 minor children, as a result of the violence exerted on their mothers, and which, likewise, have left 275 minors orphaned for the murder of their mothers.
On the other hand, sexual violence disproportionately affects women and is a form of violence against women widespread in society: according to Macro-survey of Violence against Women 2015, 13.7% of women residing in Spain aged 16 or over have suffered, throughout their lives, sexual violence, a violence that has very serious consequences on the physical and psychological health of the victims.
These figures show a reality that cannot be normalized or banalized, a structural violence towards half of the population of our country, which prevents the full freedom, equality and security of women and their sons and daughters, by the exclusive Being women.
The eradication of violence against women cannot be achieved without addressing the social attitudes that tolerate or justify it. In short, reducing the social acceptability of this violence is essential to prevent it and requires a change in the culture, attitudes and macho behaviors that encourage it.
Therefore, it is necessary to continue promoting measures that prevent violence against women, in Spain and beyond our borders, promoting education in values of equality and respect from the earliest stages, the co-education of girls and boys in all educational stages, the peaceful resolution of conflicts in all areas of personal, family and social life, and to improve resources for assistance and protection for victims, including those Spanish victims residing abroad, guaranteeing them the best institutional response to The situations of violence. This requires the total and global commitment of the Government of Spain, of the institutions, of the territorial administrations and of the whole society in the development of these actions.
Given the challenge of achieving a society free of violence against women, we all have a great responsibility. Public administrations, professionals in the fields of security, justice, education, social and health services, companies, women's associations, media and, in general, civil society as a whole, we have the mission of accompanying the victims and to express our most absolute rejection of violent attitudes. For this, we have an integrating instrument such as the State Pact against Gender Violence, reflecting the social and political consensus around the need for the fight against violence against women to be a priority issue in the political agenda with in order to effectively guarantee the full exercise of the fundamental rights and freedoms of women, without which we will not be able to enjoy a true democratic society. "