Female bodyguards tackle domestic abuse in Spain

World Today

Spain_domestic abuse

Reports of domestic abuse are rising in many countries. In the European Union, nearly 25-percent of women say they’ve been physically abused by a partner. A new organization in Spain is providing help to women in crisis.

 CGTN’s Dan Williams tells us more.

Spain has a growing concern. Last year, there were more than 28-thousand officially registered female victims of gender violence. That’s a 2.4% increase over the previous year. And many more cases go unreported.

“Violence against women is the biggest problem in Spain at this moment,” said Ana Maria Perez del Campo, president of the Federation of Separated and Divorced Women. “There is a huge amount of regression in this country. We’re going backwards.”

The increase in domestic abuse for the second year in a row is a real concern for Spanish authorities. It also underlines the desperate situation many women find themselves in. But there is one group who offers hope. EDEMM is an organization that offers 24-hour protection to vulnerable women free of charge. The project was set up by Carolina, a former police bodyguard, who prefers not to reveal her last name. The identities of its staff members are kept confidential.

“We train bodyguards and provide protection for women when they obtain court orders,” said Carolina. “We fill in the gaps. We help to enforce restraining orders and provide assurance for women who are afraid to go outside.”

Ainhoa is among those to use the service. She has since become a member of the team.

“I had a two-year old son and after one of the beatings and fights we had, he took my child and drove away with him in the car,” said Ainhoa “That was the lowest point. Now I want to help other women who have gone through what I have.”

Carolina first set up the project in Bilbao. It now has operations across Spain, although funding remains a problem.

“We want this idea to go international,” said Carolina. “That’s what we’re working towards, because there are victims all over the world.”

The project is not a solution to the issue of domestic violence, but for many women in Spain, it has been life changing.