Interview: La Rioja (Spain) at the forefront to end gender violence

Interview: La Rioja (Spain) at the forefront to end gender violence

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the President of La Rioja Concha Andreu, Vice-President of the Socialist Group of the European Committee of the Regions, underlines the need to prevent, reject and condemn all acts of violence against women and girls at local and regional level. La Rioja has launched many initiatives to eradicate gender-based violence in its communities.

Recently, the Law against Gender Violence was unanimously approved in La Rioja. What will change for women in concrete terms?

The Law against Gender Violence prepared by the Government of La Rioja materialises the commitment of the regional Executive in the fight against this serious social problem and is one of the commitments of the program and government agreement for this tenth legislature. In addition, this law supposes the full effectiveness of all the measures of the State Pact of Gender Violence of autonomic responsibility, with whose fulfillment the Government of La Rioja is fully committed.

The main novelty of this norm is that it expands the concept of gender violence in the most advanced terms of the Istanbul Convention and recognizes, for the first time as gender violence, the homicide or murder of children by the father. In addition, all its manifestations and forms are recognized for the first time at the legal level as acts of gender violence, expressly including femicide, sexual assault and abuse, harassment, trafficking, genital mutilation, forced marriage or cyberviolence, among others. And it includes, also for the first time, all forms of sexist violence, not only physical or psychological, but also social, economic, patrimonial, sexual, environmental, symbolic or institutional.

To this we must add that the new law encourages the labor insertion and employment of victims. Thus, aid is contemplated to address situations of social emergency, as well as measures to facilitate access to housing. And, for the first time, it is committed to the promotion of studies and research work on gender violence. It also recognizes the right to comprehensive social care for all women victims of any type of violence until the completion and completion of the recovery and reparation process. Similarly, a comprehensive care network is set up and all existing resources and services will be accessible electronically on a single website.

What kind of activities is La Rioja organizing to teach boys and men to respect girls and women, with a special focus on bullying? Could you tell us more about the project "un punto violeta"?

Training is key to teaching young and adult boys and men to respect girls and women and combat harassment and gender-based violence. In La Rioja we have specific training resources in this regard for the educational and associative field such as the initiatives 'Maletas viajeras para la igualdad', the didactic units on new masculinities 'La caja de los chicos', as well as the 'Buenos tratos' program.

In the context of the Co-responsibility Plan, we will shortly present a co-responsibility guide aimed at men and we have carried out an institutional campaign on co-responsibility and the need for male involvement, 'Here a real guy!', which can be seen here. To all this is added the training that we have been giving to unions and the associative movement so that, in turn, they train men. In addition, thanks to the agreement between the Government of La Rioja and the University of La Rioja, we are giving specific training in this area to future professionals in the fields of education, health and social services.

The "puntos violeta" are spaces that are installed in parties of different localities and festivals and where sexual assaults are sensitized. They are aimed especially at young people from 14 to 30 years old and aim to guarantee the existence of leisure spaces free of any type of manifestation of violence against women. The Government of La Rioja launched this tool in 2021 in the fight against sexual violence in coordination with Rioja town halls and festivals. Hablamos de unos puntos que forman parte de la estrategia contra la violencia sexual del Gobierno de España y el Gobierno de La Rioja, financiada por el Ministerio de Igualdad.

The violet points, which will be active again in 2022 and 2023 given their great reception, are added in La Rioja to the transversal actions launched by this Government to fight against sexual violence, such as the awareness campaign against chemical submission, the acquisition of cutting-edge sampling devices that avoid painful processes of victimization, as well as the elaboration of protocols in the health field.

It is important to note that the violet points are managed by staff with specific training in gender equality in the socio-educational field, social work, psychology, social education, pedagogy and teaching. They promote awareness-raising, participation and involvement of citizens in favor of gender equality, in order to eliminate and prevent all types of violence against women, especially sexual violence.

Last year, between July 1 and September 30, 12 performances of the violet points were carried out in patron saint festivities and festivals in the localities with the highest index of target population. In total, prevention, awareness and information activities were carried out that covered nearly 1,000 people, including more than 600 women who assumed the role of 'ally' during the celebration of leisure events, thus collaborating in the prevention of sexist aggressions. In addition, a first attention was given to 4 women who suffered harassment or aggression in leisure spaces.