Henrion report - February 2001
Out of the 652 women homicide victims
in Paris and its immediate suburbs between 1990 and 1999, half were killed by
their husband or partner. A terrifying figure, revealed by a report on domestic
"In France, a woman dies of domestic violence every five days",
explains Professor Roger Henrion, member of the National Academy of Medicine and
responsible for this study for the health ministry.
The professor's team questioned
a random sample of 7,000 women between 20 and 59 years old, living in Paris and
its immediate suburbs. They found that 10% have been the victim of domestic violence
during the past 12 months. Insults, moral harassment, physical attacks, rape,
the list is long of these abuses committed in the intimacy of couples.
consequences are always tragic. Many women victims suffer from emotional problems
(depression, bulimia, anorexia …) Certain, at their wit's end, commit suicide.
And a part dies directly at the hand of their husband. "Among the victims
presented in the report, 30 % had been stabbed, 30 % had been shot, 20 % had been
strangled and 10 % had been beaten to death", specifies Professor Henrion.
The profile of the attacker is not always what you would imagine. "A majority
of men concerned are men who hold a professional position with a certain degree
of power. A very important proportion of executives (67%), health professionals
(25%) and members of the police or the military was observed", comments Roger
This domestic violence remains too often taboo and its existence
is rarely known outside of the family home. But when the women do speak, they
speak first to their doctor. "Doctors have a key role in the detection of
domestic violence, getting the details and providing a medical certificate, an
essential element when filing a complaint", according to Professor Henrion.
But the doctor is often stuck between his obligation to maintain confidentiality
and failure to assist a person in danger.
A website (www.sivic.org)
concerning all these problems is available for doctors to train themselves.
The complete text
of the report is available on the Health Ministry website: click
1999 National Women's Rights Survey
Women's Rights State Secretary + Enveff. Survey done in 1999 on
6,970 women from 20 to 59 years old.
In 1999, more than a million and
a half women had been confronted by a situation of violence - verbal, physical
woman out of approximately 20 suffered a physical attack in 1999, from
blows to attempted murder
% had been victims of sexual attacks, from fondling to rape. This figure passes
to 2,2 % in the 20-24 year old age range.
concern 0,3 % of the sampling,
figure when applied to the global population would mean 48,000 victims (out of
15,88 million women from 20-59 years old). This figure was judged "alarming"
by the demographer Maryse Jaspard (Institut démographique de l'Université
de Paris I) [other
majority of violence happened within the family or private sphere
Domestic violence collected in the survey goes from threats, emotional blackmail
concerning the children, and contempt, to sequestration, being thrown out of the
house, forced sexual relations, blows and attempted murder. It concerns one
woman out of 10 living in a couple in 1999 and 30 % of those who were separated
from their partner at the time of the survey. The youngest were the most concerned
domestic violence is present in all social classes. Women farmers were
the least affected (5,1 %), students (12,4 %) and homes living from unemployment
benefits or RMI (13,7 %) were the most affected.
or sexual attacks are rare outside the family milieu or the private sphere
(respectively 1,7 et 1,9 %).
work, moral harassment concerns 3,9 % of women (imposed situations, unfair
criticism, regular exclusion, ...), insults and threats 8,5 %, physical attacks
0,6 %. Sexual harassment, sexual advances or assault affect 1,9 % of female
employees. One out of five times, it concerns a hierarchical superior.
details on the INED website: click
CNIDF Survey December 99 - March 2000
Daphné program of the European Commission.
equally allocated between Italy and France.
Results for France:
43,9 % declared having
been a victims of violence.
78,4 % think that violence against women happen principally within the family.
84,1 % of women questioned
rank physical violence in the lead (Italian women denounce moral violence foremost
in 69,4 % of cases).
Main reasons given for the spouse's aggressiveness: desire to impose his authority
62,7 %; alcoholism 54,3 %; the fact that he was himself mistreated as a child
46,6 %. The notion of a disadvantaged childhood background is far behind (20 %).
Women's Rights Survey 1988
Secrétariat aux Droits des Femmes 1989
Of 130,000 interventions
of the urban police for domestic violence, 8,800 complaints were registered.
60 % of Police Secours
calls in Paris concern domestic violence.
87 % of domestic violence takes place in the home.
50 % in the evening, 22 % at night, 58 % due to alcoholism.
85 % of victims are between 20 and 45 years old.
54 % are legally married, 38 % live as a common law couple.
3/4 are French, 2/3 are unskilled.
is killed each week by her spouse in Europe
by Sonia Wolf, Agence France-Presse Strasburg. November 2002.
Domestic violence has become an endemic phenomenon in Europe where each week,
a woman is killed by her husband or partner, according to the European Counsel
who (recently) called its 44 member States to repress it more severely. According
to statistics cited by a report of the European Counsel, domestic violence will
be the main cause of death and invalidity, before cancer, road accidents and war
for women aged 16 to 44. In Europe, depending on the country, from 20 to 50% of
women are victims of domestic violence. But there is no "typical profile"
of the violent spouse and no social layer is spared, says the report.
and lack of formal education are not meaningful factors, the incidence of domestic
violence even seems to increase with the level of income and education",
emphasizes Mme Olga Keltosova (European Democrats, Slovakia), author of the text.
According to her, a Dutch study even revealed that almost half of all perpetrators
of violent acts concerning women have university diplomas. "Domestic violence,
in all its forms - physical attack, sexual abuse, rape, threats and intimidation
-, is the most shared plague", she underlined.
The report's author also
cited "psychological violence", often obscured but sometimes more painful
than physical blows.
"Verbal attacks, humiliation, threats, repeated
harassment, imprisonment lead the woman to lose all self-esteem, which prevents
her from later taking back control of her life", explains Mme Keltosova.
The studies cited by the report revealed that in 2001, there were 1,35 million
women victims of domestic violence in France and approximately 10,000 per year
In Russia, "13,000 women are killed each year, for the most
part by their husband or partner", specifies the report which proposes the
parallel figure of 14,000 Russians killed in 10 years during the war in Afghanistan.
Faced with this grave report, the European Counsel asked its member States to
take preventative measures but also to elaborate a legal arsenal so that the perpetrators
of domestic violence will be severely sanctioned.
If in certain countries,
rape within the couple is considered a crime, "many others think that spouses
have a right to unlimited sexual access to their wife", regrets Mme Keltosova.
"The fact that this violence happens in the home of the victim, behind closed
doors, has always been a pretext to qualify it as a problem regarding the private
sphere", she laments.
Among the proposed measures figures notably "immediately
removing the violent partner from the home and the daily environment of his wife
and children, without proof and without waiting for a court's decision".