Catalonia creates 24-hour psychological support center for victims of sexual violence

Government to launch initiative by third quarter of 2023 across territory

Catalan equality and feminism minister Tània Verge on the left during a press conference on November 16, 2022
Catalan equality and feminism minister Tània Verge on the left during a press conference on November 16, 2022 / Eli Don

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

November 16, 2022 06:11 PM

The Catalan equality and feminism ministry announced the creation of a new 24-hour psychological support center for the victims of sexual violence cases on Wednesday. 

Trained staff will be available all day to offer aid across Catalonia when someone calls the hotline at +34 900 900 120. A person will then travel to a specific location agreed upon between the parties - where the victim feels comfortable - to help her out on the next steps of the process.

"We want to prioritize the rights and needs of women to ensure that public services are adequate for their situation," Tània Verge, minister of equality and feminism, said during a press conference.

The initiative will come into operation in the third quarter of 2023 and is part of around 90 different actions focused on preventing sexual violence and restoring safety for women. The project has a budget of €40 million until 2025 and it is part of the "radical" change of the modus operandi of how sexual assaults have been handled until now.

"Women should not stop doing things, it is society that has to change," Verge added.

Currently, 60% of sexual assaults are carried out by a man the victim knows or has a relationship with. Even today, the minister said, society believes that sexual violence is only related to dark alleys at night, carried out by an unknown psychopath. 

The project will also feature several other elements such as having a more specialized hotline service, assistance in real-time, or even, depending on the abuse, legal advice to start the judicial process.

Experts will also follow up on ongoing cases and the ministry will set up an immediate response when there are crisis situations. 

Once the new system is in place, victims of sexual violence will also be able to call even if the attack took place in the past. 

"Women do not always look for help when assaults take place, so for this reason, we have to be available to help at any time, 24 hours a day," Verge added.