MADRID (AP) – Spain’s left-wing government said on Friday it would start counting murders of women or minors by men in its official statistics on gender-based violence, regardless of the relationship between the victim and the killer.
For years, many murders of women in Spain have been loosely described as “crimes of passion” or “crimes of love,” but the passage of gender-based violence laws in the early 2000s helped educate the public, media professionals and government officials.
Since 2003, Spain has officially counted some murders of women as “crimes of gender-based violence” – but, so far, only when it is proven that the victim and the killer were or were in a relationship.
Friday’s move to a broader definition of these crimes puts Spain at the forefront of an approach that sees the traditionally more powerful position of men in society as playing a role in most, if not all, of the murders of women, whether a romantic relationship had existed before or at the time of the murder.
Victoria Rosell, the government official for gender-based violence, announced the change at a press conference in Madrid.
Rosell said that from January 1, 2022, underage victims – regardless of gender – will also be counted in official data on gender-based violence. The move follows a string of high-profile cases where children have been injured or killed by men in order to injure mothers of children.
Men convicted of gender-based violence may face increased penalties upon final conviction.
The flourishing Spanish feminist movement had pushed to broaden the definition of femicide in the country, which Spanish authorities have defined as the murder of a woman or girl because of their gender.
Equality Minister Irene Montero said the change was necessary “because what is not counted does not exist, because of justice and reparations, and to advance rights.”
“All together against violence against women,” she wrote in a tweet.
Statistics from his ministry show that 37 women have been murdered so far this year in Spain by their partners or ex-partners. At least 1,118 people have been killed since 2003, when systematic record keeping began in the country.