Swiss minister outlines initiative to stop violence against women

Campaigners protest outside the Federal Parliament in Bern in May 2019 against violence against women. © Keystone / Anthony Anex

Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter has announced a new national initiative to better protect women against sexual and domestic violence.

This content was published on January 3, 2021 - 11:40
NZZ am Sonntag/sb

“I want a roadmap to prevent violence against women that shows where the federal government and the cantons have potential for improvement,” she told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.

A meeting is planned in spring with representatives from the federal authorities, the cantons and private organisations that are active in this area.

“Women's shelters in particular are still very important in order to be able to offer protection in acute crises,” the minister said.

She would like to see the authorities become more involved in preventing domestic violence.

“Why should the state intervene when there are assaults on the sidewalk, but not when the same thing happens in the home?" asked Keller-Sutter.

Domestic violence 

Swiss police registered 19,669 cases of domestic violence in 2019, up 6.2% on the previous year. 

Twenty-nine people died in Switzerland in 2019 as a result of domestic violence, according to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). Experts meanwhile point out that there are also a high number of cases that go unreported. Many women do not go to the police for fear of more violence or loss of reputation. 

From Latin America to Europe, countries around the world have reported spikes in domestic violence against women during pandemic-related lockdowns.

In 2019, 243 million women and girls experienced sexual or physical violence from their partner, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director told Reuters last November. Reports of increased domestic violence, cyberbullying, child marriages, sexual harassment and sexual violence rose, said the UN official.

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