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France to launch debate to address 'flagrant' femicide figures

media French actress Julie Gayet participates in Saturday's protest demanding the government does more to stop conjugal violence in France REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

The French government has announced that it will launch a nation-wide debate in September on conjugal violence in an effort to find a solution to stop the increase of femicides in France.

Since January this year, 75 women have been victim to conjugal violence.

In an interview with Sunday’s paper Le Journal du Dimanche, the secretary of state of Equality Of Men and Women, Marlène Schiappa, announced the government’s decision.

“It will be a great citizen consultation and campaign to call on everyone in society” explained Schiappa.

But associations that have been pressing the government to do more to help women are not convinced by this announcement.

On Saturday, over 1200 people marched in Paris calling on the French government to take immediate action.

In response, President Emmanuel Macron admitted that the government did not know how to protect those victims of murder committed by current or former partners.

National debate

Referred to as the “Grenelle des violences conjugales”, this national debate will be introduced by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and will bring together ministers, administrators and associations of families and victims.

It will open on September 3, 2019, which is in reference to the phone number 3919, a designated line for women to call if they have been a victim of violence explained Schiappa.

The debate, she added, will help “build more effective measures that are in keeping with what’s taking place on the ground”.

Response to the government

“One meeting, in two months and results in five [months]” following the adoption of the state budget cried out members from the Nous Toutes association.

In an open letter on its Facebook page entitled « Mr. President, violence does not take a vacation”, the members stressed that the delay in taking action against femicides was “flagrant”.

“Tomorrow, women will go to the police to file complaints that will be refused. The Interior Minister Christophe Castaner is responsible to ensure the security of the 225,000 women who are victims of violence within their relationships and to fight against this crime. He must act now”.

According to figures from the interior ministry, taking into consideration the number of official or non-official couples, 130 women were killed in 2017 in France by a current or former partner.

That number is up from 2016 that ended with 123 women killed.

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