The Mossos d’Esquadra have arrested the alleged aggressor of a crime of abuse at home after the victim asked for help by making the international sign of sexist violence (show the palm of the hand, insert the thumb to the center of the palm and lower the other four fingers to catch the thumb) in a medical facility. The events took place on November 11 in a private clinic in the Barcelona district of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. A couple was in the waiting room and the woman made the signal to one of the workers at the center.
The utility called the emergency phone alerting what happened and a couple from the Mossos d’Esquadra came to the consultation and questioned the members of the couple separately. The woman confirmed to the officers that she had been subjected to “insults, slights and violent attitudes such as shoves” for some time. After taking a statement, the agents arrested the individual whom they accused of a crime of abuse in the home. The Mossos d’Esquadra published a tweet this Monday stating that this initiative, promoted by organizations such as the Canadian Canadian Women’s Foundation or the American Women’s Funding Network, can help the victims.
In a medical waiting room in BCN, a woman indicates, with the sign of international help, that she is a victim of sexist violence. Thanks to this gesture that a worker recognizes, we arrest the woman’s companion for alleged abuse # ProuViolènciesMasclistes # 25N pic.twitter.com/mg6VCkKNx7
– Mossos (@mossos) November 15, 2021
The signal to ask for help without the aggressor noticing the distress signal has gone viral thanks to social networks and, above all, to TikTok. A week ago, a teenager kidnapped in North Carolina (United States) was located after a motorist realized that the minor had made that signal while she was traveling as a passenger in a car driven by her abductor. The popularity that the signal has reached worldwide is due to the Signal for Help campaign launched in April 2020, in full lockdown, by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. The idea was that the victims could alert of their situation, especially in video calls since with the confinements many women lived with their aggressor, without leaving any digital trace.
On the other hand, the Barcelona City Council has launched a crusade to detect, prevent and care for women victims of sexist violence who do not report or are subjected to practices and behaviors that do not have criminal reproach. For this, the Ada Colau government team has put into operation the We accompany you program, through which it has provided the agents of the Urban Guard with a protocol and a guide with a series of indicators to detect, in all their interventions, if there is any possible victim of sexist violence. The agents will draw up information procedures, their situations will be monitored more and the social and psychological assistance offered by the City Council will be made available to the victims.
The Consistory warns that 84% of the victims of sexist violence murdered in Spain by their romantic partners and ex-partners had not denounced the aggressor. The Deputy Mayor for Social Rights and Feminisms, Laura Pérez, considers that with this new protocol the prevention and detection of situations is improved, the effectiveness of the response and attention to the victims is increased, and municipal coordination with the Mossos is improved. .
The sub-inspector of the Urban Guard, Gemma Alfonso, highlighted this Monday the indicators that can set off all the alarms of this protocol and that the local police officers must check. As soon as there is a call to the emergency telephone number, regardless of whether it is a complaint of sexist violence or not, it will be reviewed if there have been previous incidents at that address or police records related to sexist violence. The patrols will already know this information before arriving at the scene. Once at home and if they have evidence or the victim’s statement that a criminal offense related to sexist violence has been committed, the agents will proceed to arrest the alleged aggressor. If those clues are not so clear, they will check more than 30 indicators. “They are very varied. They will check what situation the victim is in, what role does the man have in front of the man, what role does the man have in relation to the woman: if he is dominant, aggressive, defiant … They will collect information from the neighbors: if fights are common … How is the housing: there are broken objects… ”, Alfonso listed.
Mayor Sergi Amposta reported this Monday about the specialization of 10 agents, one per district, who have been trained to become leaders of sexist violence. These urbanites will analyze all the incidents that the agents have managed and will follow up on those that are not criminal. “The referring agents will coordinate with the Mossos d’Esquadra Victim Attention Group to exchange information, but once every 15 days in each district they will study the cases in a commission of municipal social and psychological services technicians for attention to the victims ”, highlights Amposta. Afterwards, the woman will be contacted by phone and she will be informed of all the services that can help her, always “respecting her decision”. In March these commissions of Sant Martí, Horta Guinardó, Sant Andreu and Eixample were put into operation. 208 cases of women with indicators of vulnerability have been detected, 78 of them accessed municipal networks of attention to sexist violence, four rejected help and the rest are pending that their cases are treated in the commissions or they have been closed because finally they are he has discarded his situation of vulnerability.
“This weekend there have been seven requests for sexist violence. Of these seven, four were evident and ended with the arrest of the aggressor; in the other three, when the agents arrived, the man had left and the woman did not want to report, ”warns Amposta, who assures that this new protocol will help clarify what happened in these types of situations.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.