Signing of Agreement on legal advice for Spanish women who are victims of violence abroad

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (Spanish acronym: MAUEC) and the Spanish Lawyers’ Foundation have signed an agreement to provide legal advice to Spanish women that are victims of gender-based violence abroad, specifically those Spanish women that are weighing up or preparing their return to Spain, prior to their return or upon arriving in Spain.

This is a particularly vulnerable group as they find themselves in an alien social and cultural context. On many occasions, the victims are not only unaware of the resources available to them, but also find themselves particularly isolated as they lack local family ties and/or do not understand the language.

The agreement, with no economic consideration for either party, establishes the following actions that seek to be carried out within this framework of collaboration:

- Consultation between the parties to the agreement on legal doubts that may arise prior to the potential return to Spain of a female victim of violence abroad.

- Facilitate the integration of the victim in a Spanish protection system and inform them of the resources available in Spain, specifically at a legal level. The Consular Offices will provide prior information and refer, when necessary, those Spanish women that are suffering from episodes of violence abroad and who require advice from a Spanish lawyer from among those selected by the Spanish Lawyers’ Foundation, supported by the Sub-committee for Violence against Women of the General Council of Lawyers, without prejudice to their free choice of professional.

- Guarantee unity of defence such that the same legal entity can defend the victim in Spain in such cases as are applicable.

At any event, once in Spain, a free and specialised legal defence is guaranteed immediately for all victims of gender-based violence that request this, pursuant to the provisions of Law 1/1996, of 10 January, on Free Legal Aid. The agreement does not include the provision of legal aid abroad.

The agreement, signed by the Under-secretary, Celsa Nuño, on behalf of the MAUEC and the President of the General Council of Lawyers, Victoria Ortega, on Friday, 9 October, is an example of the social and institutional consensus that exists in Spain to eradicate violence against women. The 2017 State Pact against Gender-based Violence urges the public powers and civil society to continue to make progress in this fight. In compliance with this indication, an improvement in the institutional response and instruments to protect victims is sought.

In this specific case, the aim of this agreement is to further develop the support provided to Spanish women that are victims of violence abroad, whereby this is understood as a broader acceptance of violence against women contained in the Istanbul Convention.



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