Spain court orders ministry to compensate gender violence victim’s family

A Spanish court ordered Wednesday the interior ministry to pay 180,000 euros in compensation to the family of a woman murdered by her abusive husband after her request for protection was turned down.

The woman in September 2016 asked police in the southern town of Sanlucar la Mayor near Seville for a protection order against her husband but the request was turned down because he had no criminal record and officers concluded she faced little risk.

The following month the man, reportedly a former police captain in the Dominican Republic, stabbed his wife to death in the street in front of the couple’s two children. 

He committed suicide in May 2020 while serving a 28-year jail sentence for the crime.

Spain’s National Court on Wednesday ruled that the Spain’s Guardia Civil police force had provided “inadequate” protection to the woman and ordered it to pay 20,000 euros ($23,500) to each of her parents, and 70,000 euros to each of her two children, for “moral damages”.

“Social and institutional awareness of the importance of the problem of gender violence requires greater sensibility than that which was shown by the Guardia Civil station” in charge of the case, the court added in its ruling.

Spanish politicians have implemented successive programmes to address the issue of gender violence since 1997, when 60-year-old Ana Orantes was beaten, thrown over a balcony and then burned to death by her ex-husband after repeatedly complaining to authorities about his violent behaviour.

She had been forced to divide her home with her husband on the order of a divorce court.

The Spanish parliament in 2004 unanimously approved Europe’s first law that specifically cracks down on gender-based violence.

It grants victims of gender violence free legal aid, set up special courts for domestic violence cases and allows public prosecutors to press charges even if the victim does not file a complaint.