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New call to better protect victims of domestic violence

More than one in five women have been the victim of domestic violence


A government-appointed commission has recommended that the state be given more powers to defend victims of domestic violence.

Under proposals unveiled on Tuesday, the government would be given the right to press charges on behalf of victims, without them having to file a legal complaint personally.

At present, cases of domestic violence can only be opened if victims bring charges against their partners. But research shows that, more often than not, acts of violence go unpunished because victims are usually too frightened to come forward.

Organisations and political parties reviewing the proposal say it is well intentioned, but that it does not go far enough.

Many point to what they say is an inherent contradiction in the proposal: while the state would have the right to bring charges in cases of domestic violence, it is still up to the victim to decide whether or not to press ahead with legal action.

Women's Solidarity, a welfare group which provides shelter for 120 victims of domestic violence every day, says it is pleased with the proposed revision of the law, and says it should remain up to the victims to decide whether to pursue charges.

Research by the national fund for scientific research has shown that more than one in five women has been the victim of domestic violence.

swissinfo with agencies


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