France announces anti-femicide measures as 100th killing recorded

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Women look at a display of flowers as they stand at the site where a woman was found dead the day before, in Cagnes-sur-Mer on 2 September 2019, making her the 100th victim of femicide in France this yearImage source, AFP

The disfigured body of the young woman was found on Saturday, hidden under rubbish, branches and an old quilt.

A local resident passing near the train station of Cagnes-sur-Mer, southern France, thought he had seen a foot and raised the alarm.

The death of 21-year-old Salomé has been recorded as the 100th case of femicide this year.

It comes as the government announces measures to combat the killing of women related to domestic violence.

According to several neighbours, the young woman was killed by her partner during a violent attack which took place in the street at night after a row, French media report.

"She was telling him everything she thought and he did not like it," one eyewitness told local media. "He hit her, hit her against the wall, stomped on her stomach, on her head."

An investigation has been opened by the local prosecutor's office for femicide, and the women's companion has been arrested.

Media caption,

French women talk about their experiences of sexual harassment in public

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday launched a summit around the subject which includes community and association representatives, police, judges, lawyers and government ministers.

He has announced a number of initial emergency measures, including the creation of 1,000 shelter places and emergency accommodation from next year, and an audit of 400 police stations to see how women's complaints are handled.

He has also said €5m (£4.5m) would be released in the fight against femicide, and that the complaints procedure would be simplified, that the protection of women under threat would be improved, and that their partners would be removed more quickly.

The PM also floated the idea that those convicted of domestic violence or under a restraining order would have to wear an electronic bracelet to protect women from further violence.

As he announced the measures, he said domestic violence did not happen in a context "where wrongs are shared: it is often a process [where women find themselves in] a sexist grip, very much entrenched in our mentalities and practices, so much so that some men are used to [acting with] impunity".

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However, representatives of domestic violence associations have said much more is needed to effectively combat the problem.

Final measures will be announced in November.

In 2018, the ministry of the interior had recorded 121 femicides. On Sunday, the 101st case was recorded, that of a 92-year-old woman killed by her 94-year-old husband in southern France.

In western Europe, France is said to be among the countries with the highest rate of women killed by their partner, with 0.18 victims per 100,000 women, according to 2017 Eurostat figures.

This compares with a rate of 0.13 in Switzerland, 0.11 in Italy and 0.12 in Spain, but is less than in Germany (0.23).

In June, Spain recorded the 1,000th murder of a woman by a partner since records began in 2003.

The country has developed a system of special courts reserved exclusively for cases of sexual violence against women.

All professionals, whether medics, police or judiciary are trained in dealing with conjugal violence. And police must register every complaint with judges required to deal with cases within 72 hours.