On Christmas Eve around 50 separated parents including six women held a protest in the centre of Sevilla. Thirty-five of them dressed up as Father Christmas in a demonstration demanding a change to the divorce law to give shared custody of children between both parents and in support of the judge of the Sevilla family court, Francisco Serrano. Earlier some 67 organisation had defended the judge against the action of “ultra feminists” that have asked the CGPJ judicial authority to take disciplinary action against Serrano accusing him of siding with those responsible for domestic violence in seeking a fair settlement of cases.
Amongst those at the Sevilla demonstration were José Antonio Santos and Miguel Ángel Torres. They had recently been the victims of false complaints made against them by their partners in divorce proceedings. Santos had as a result spent 11 months in jail and Torres had been accused of abusing his two year old daughter.
According to the spokesperson for ‘Papá no es’, Carlos Aurelio Caldito, since 2004 when the Ley de Violencia de Género was introduced over 600,000 men had been branded as “sexist” but when the cases were investigated and brought to court they were found to be innocent.
Long term readers of my blog will know that I have a specific interest in the problem of domestic violence in Spain and as with all such cases – be it the male abusing the female – or in more cases that you might suspect the female abusing the male – I believe in zero tolerance.
I remember a year or so after the 2004 law was introduced a meeting was held in Algeciras attended by people living in the Campo de Gibraltar and others from Málaga. The majority were men and believed false accusations had been made against them by their former partners who alleged domestic violence in order to boost their claim for a divorce or as an act of revenge.
This highlights a major problem involving the law. It is vital that those who suffer domestic violence from current or former partners are protected with the full weight of the law. Unfortunately there are now many cases where one partner uses the law to make false accusations against the other – so whilst we must have zero tolerance for violence - we must also ensure justice for all.