Increase in gender-based violence during confinement
More women and children given care already in 2020 than in all of 2019
The number of women's support centers run by the Catalan government doubled in 2020, reaching 16, according to the latest figures.
Likewise, the number of temporary shelters for victims of gender-based violence quadrupled, reaching 156 locations this year.
These are only two figures showing that, rather than decreasing, the number of victims reported is on the rise compared to the last international day for the elimination of violence against women, celebrated on November 25.
This year confinement measures prompted an increase in cases, as the director of the women's support center at Barcelona city council (SARA), Ruth Capdevila, explained to the Catalan News Agency (ACN).
The official data shows that 1,300 people have received care in 2020 so far and, although in 2019 the final figure was 2,000, the SARA expects that the number of victims this year will surpass previous periods.
Capdevila said that the cases during the first lockdown de-escalation period in spring and summer saw a big increase, both in number and in seriousness – indeed, the first week that children were allowed out the surge was exponential. In one single day care had to be provided for eight children in the Catalan capital alone.
Pilar (not her real name) was one of the victims who used SARA. "[Someone in my work] could tell I was in a very bad situation with a lot of violence. That person made the call, told me to go to this address on this date, that they're waiting for me there. That's how I arrived at the SARA help center," she explained to ACN.
The increases weren't confined to Barcelona. Catalan authorities also reported more cases during lockdown – an overall 34% increase in calls from mid-March to mid-April, although they received fewer calls from women who still lived with their abusers.
As of October 31, Specialized Intervention Services (SIEs) have already provided care to 5,034 women and 1,141 children, more than the 4,933 that received care during 2019.
The Catalan government's families and wellbeing department are reminding people that there are still spaces available in their temporary shelters, with no waiting list, and that the phone number to report any sexist violence is 900 120 120.