Gender-based violence

Ángela González Carreño v. Spain

In the first ruling by an international body finding Spain responsible for gender violence, the CEDAW Committee found that the State violated the rights of Ángela and her deceased daughter Andrea, who was murdered due to negligence by the authorities. In its ruling, the Committee recommended specific measures for Ángela, as well as general and structural measures designed to avoid placing victims of gender violence and their children in danger and to ensure that judges and administrative personnel perform their duties free of gender stereotypes.
  • Country: Spain
  • Edition: 2015
  • Visits: 9902
  • Court: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
  • Date of the Decision: 18/07/2014
  • Votes: 59
Ángela’s quest for protection and justice took eleven long years. She had suffered gender violence and fled the home where she was living with the abuser, taking her daughter Andrea with her. The violence continued over the course of several years. She went to the authorities to seek protection for herself and her daughter, including requesting that the abuser’s visitation with her daughter be supervised. Despite over 30 complaints filed by Ángela, the courts allowed unsupervised visits, based on psychological evaluations. As a result of the authorities’ negligence, Andrea was murdered by the abuser during an unsupervised visit. She was seven years old.

After Andrea’s murder, Ángela pursued legal action against the State for its role in her daughter’s murder. After exhausting domestic remedies, Women’s Link filed the case before the CEDAW Committee.

In the first ruling of its kind against Spain by an international body, the CEDAW Committee found that the State violated the rights of Ángela and her deceased daughter. The Committee indicated that any history of gender violence must be taken into account in child custody and visitation proceedings in order not to place gender violence victims, including their children, in danger. It went on to indicate that the application of the legal framework must be strengthened in order to ensure that the competent authorities exercise due diligence to respond appropriately to situations of domestic violence. It also stressed that stereotypes affect women’s right to impartial judicial process and that the Spanish judiciary applied stereotyped notions of the nature and seriousness of gender violence in deciding visitation schedules for abusive parents and their children.

Decision available in Spanish.

Judges who issued the decision

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