It was a promise from candidate Macron in 2022. During his campaign, the president had pleaded for the strengthening of the treatment of domestic violence through the specialization of justice. In 2021, in France, the number of feminicides increased by 20% compared to the previous year: 122 women were killed under the blows of their spouse or ex-spouse, against 102 in 2020, according to a report published at the end of August by the Ministry of the Interior.
Three years after the Grenelle on violence against women, the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, thus unveiled new measures to try to better fight against this violence. It includes, among other things, the creation of 1,000 additional emergency accommodation places, the recruitment of social workers and a parliamentary mission to reflect on the establishment of specialized justice. "I am going to entrust a mission to parliamentarians to take stock and see how we can move forward for more readable, more responsive and more efficient legal action", said Elisabeth Borne, during a trip to Essonne. , where she notably visited, in Ris-Orangis, an association which helps women victims of violence.
This mission will be launched at the end of September and will last six months, said Matignon. Parliamentarians will have to think about a justice system that "reconciles the specialization of investigators and magistrates with the necessary proximity for the victims", specified, in a press release, the services of the Prime Minister.
A specialized court, also called a special court, designates the courts for which a special text of law provides for the distribution of competences. In other words, they can only judge disputes which are expressly attributed to them, unlike common law jurisdictions.
In French law, there are many specialized jurisdictions, such as the commercial courts or the industrial tribunal. Minors, with the Tribunal and the Court of Assizes for children, the military, as well as political figures such as ministers or the president also come under special jurisdictions. This specialization is based on the idea that certain cases require specific skills to be judged.
In France, there are already 123 emergency processing channels for these cases among the 164 courts in the country. To this end, special chambers have been created in these courts in order to speed up the processing times for these files, which are often too long. The project was born in 2019. At the time, Isabelle Rome, then senior civil servant for gender equality at the Ministry of Justice, explained: "the idea is to put in place an ideal procedure, from the appearance immediately, to deal with the urgency and specificity of domestic violence."
These 123 emergency services should soon formulate recommendations for specialized justice in matters of domestic violence, according to the Minister Delegate. "These cases must be judged in a specific way. Slapping your wife has nothing to do with stealing a laptop from a store. This act must be questioned and an immediate response must be given to it," said Isabelle. Rome in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche on September 4. "We must also question the violence of the perpetrators and provide specific support to the victims."
According to the Ministry of the Interior, 157,000 police and gendarmes have been trained in the reception of victims of domestic violence in recent years. On the other hand, 417 social workers are now present in police stations or gendarmeries to accompany, support and guide victims. A number that Gérald Darmanin has announced that he wants to increase to 600 by 2025.
Asked about the possibility of founding a new category of magistrates for domestic violence, as is the case for minors, the Minister Delegate replied that she "does not want to anticipate the conclusions of the mission [.. .] At a minimum, we must continue to train all judges and prosecutors likely to deal with this type of case, particularly on the notion of influence, or even coercive control,” she says. And to add: "If we do not understand these processes, we miss the specificity of these cases and therefore miss the danger. We must also know the psychotrauma and the devastating impact of this violence on children, in order to to draw the consequences in terms of the exercise of parental authority, visiting rights and accommodation.
In Spain, the police and justice have been deeply reformed on these issues and the country is often set up as a European model on the issue. Courts specializing in gender violence have been appearing since 2004, provided for in the "integral protection law against gender violence". Today, there is a national prosecutor's office against them. It is made up of specialized magistrates, and more than a hundred courts, out of the 3,500 in the country, are entirely devoted to it.
To be judged to be specialized, candidates must follow nearly 50 hours of training where they study, among other things, the history of feminism, its evolution, equal rights, and learn to judge in the context of domestic violence. At stake: an exam and the right to practice as a specialized judge. All the specialized magistrates have dual criminal and civil jurisdiction, and have a maximum of 72 hours to investigate the cases and request an immediate appearance of the spouse.
Since the introduction of this legislative arsenal, victims of domestic violence are more daring to lodge a complaint, almost four times more than in France. And the number of women killed has fallen by 24%, according to the authorities. More recently, in March 2022, Quebec launched a pilot project for a court specializing in sexual violence and domestic violence. It is supposed to eventually be deployed in all regions.