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Tuesday, 24 July 2018 13:38

Treatment of qualified witnesses to victims of gender violence

Gender violence and its consequent family impact are one of the main problems of today's society.

Wide sectors of the population have considered that procedural management in certain cases that involve gender violence has been unfair. Even large social mobilizations have been called in protest and demand for responses to the institutions of justice.


A case of 2015 in Alicante has served for a judge to grant qualified witness treatment to the victims of this type of violence. It is a great step towards the application of the gender perspective in judicial processes.

The incident occurred when a person with a report of mistreatment towards his ex-partner traveled 450 kilometers to where she was. The woman had moved to live with her parents fleeing him with the son they have in common. The man's intention was to kill her, in fact he managed to hit her with shotgun fired.

In that situation, the Provincial Court of Alicante sentenced the defendant to 14 years and eight months in prison; The imputed crime was attempted murder. Added aggravations of kinship, violation of injunction, burglary and illegal possession of firearms.

In the Supreme Court the sentence was ratified on June 13, 2018. Specifically in its Criminal Chamber, with the magistrate Vicente Magro Servet as rapporteur. This judicial decision in turn established that the victims who testify in these processes should be considered qualified witnesses instead of simple ones.


With this jurisprudence due attention is given to the way in which the woman suffers and lives the aggression. It is clear that his statement adds a value and a weight to the burden of proof; It is obvious that such a statement does not match that of an external witness.

In addition, the ratification ruling implies that the couple's previous confrontations, passivity to aggression or delay in reporting do not diminish their credibility. It is not that his story has greater credibility by itself, but it is undoubted that it allows the court to better appreciate the details of the facts in their own voice and the way they lived them.

Gender-based violence can tragically and irreversibly affect children and other direct and indirect relatives of the victim. The lamentable news in the media confirm it; not even the restraining orders or the ongoing criminal proceedings have prevented it.


The rapporteur considers that Law 4/2015 of April 27, of the Statute of the crime victim, was not enough to reform the Law of Criminal Procedure. This reform improved the consideration of victims of gender crimes in the criminal process.

According to Magro Servet, the victims are privileged witnesses "whose assessment is estimated by the court under the principles of credibility, persistence and credibility". And that reform was circumscribed to differentiate between direct and indirect victims.

Finally, the defendant of the crime is dismissed the cassation appeal introduced against the decision of the Provincial Court and the sentence was ratified. The great advance that this represents is very clear, but we must not forget that gender violence is a matter of citizen and family education.

Writings SF Lawyers