In recent year, sexual violence has become one of the issues of greatest social interest in southern Europe. This change in visibility, may be due to the attention received at the justice system by women and children who have suffered sexual violence, that can produce re-victimization.
In this context, on April 2020, objective N° 1 of RE-TREAT project began implemented, which consist of making a diagnosis of the treatment that victims of sexual violence receive in the criminal process in three southern European countries: Greece, Italy and Spain. This work will include barriers to justice access identification, but also current field good practices acknowledgement.
RE-TREAT is financed by the European Union (EU), it brings together six universities and social entities from four EU member countries (Belgium, Italy, Greece and Spain) and lasts 24 months, from February 2020 to January 2022. RE-TREAT was created with the aim of promoting changes in the justice systems of Spain, Italy and Greece to improve their capacity to respond to the interests of victims of sexual violence.
The University Carlos III of Madrid leads the development of this objective. In April, the preparation of a draft of the main data to be collected in the coming months has begun.
Professor Helena Soleto, who heads the UC3M team, stressed that “it will be necessary to identify whether each country takes into account the particular interests of the victim, such as their safety, their right to privacy or their right to be heard”. These interests are related to victims want to attain from the justice system. Soleto also points out that not only should the individual interest of women or minors who suffer sexual violence be valued, but also “social impact, such as the feeling of shame or guilt”, should also be taken into account. These elements have become evident in recent years through mediatic legal cases such as the well-known “La Manada” case. In this sense, Professor Soleto points out that “in Spain, the case of La Manada is an example of social upheaval that will surely procedure legal and procedural amendments”.
In relation to the pandemic situation generated by COVID-19, the professor express that “COVID-19 is confining women to their maltreaters and children to their abusers, it is more necessary than ever to promote agile and accessible mechanisms of identification and prevention as well as a criminal process that does not re-victimize but rather repairs those who have suffered sexual violence”.