chapter  5
24 Pages

Combating violence against women

ByCELIA VALIENTE

Violence against women is a phenomenon that has increasingly preoccupied national and international authorities because of its lasting scars on victims and, in the case of domestic violence, on the children of the household and even on the perpetrators. The United Nations has defined violence against women as ‘any act of sexist violence that may result in physical, sexual or psychological harm, including threats, coercion or arbitrary prevention of freedom, whether this happens in public or in private life’ (UN 1996). In the last three decades national public policies combating violence against women have been similar in Spain to those of other

European Union member states. Measures have mainly been of two types: legal reforms, in order to make violent actions against women unlawful and punishable by law; and services for victims of violence, for instance refuges for battered women.