How French justice is failing victims of domestic violence

By Sophie Boutboul

According to the French interior ministry, 121 women died in 2018 in incidents of domestic violence. Already this year, 92 women in France have been murdered at the hands of their husbands, former spouses or companions, according to records compiled by a French feminist association, while women’s support groups denounce inadequate legal protection afforded to domestic violence victims. Sophie Boutboul reports on the emblematic case of a mother-of-two, separated from her former partner against whom she has filed a complaint for violence, and who says she fears so much that she has moved house three times in two years. Despite her detailed complaints, a previous protection order was lifted by a judge last month, along with the secrecy of her home address.      

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In the early hours of Sunday, police near Annecy, in east-central France, pulled over a motorist returning from a holiday in Italy, with his two young children in the back seat. In a search of the vehicle, the officers found the corpse of the man’s wife hidden in a suitcase in the boot.