PARIS (AP) — Three women in France were found dead on New Year’s Day, allegedly killed by their partners, despite efforts by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to rein in deadly domestic violence.
In all three cases, the men told police they themselves were at fault, according to local media reports.
Feminist groups are crying for more action and 1 billion euros in funding to train all French police and ensure better protection for those targeted by abusive partners.
In response to public anger, government ministers held online meetings on Tuesday with local officials in the town where one of the killings occurred. “We’re all mobilized,” tweeted the junior minister for equal rights, Elisabeth Moreno.
“Three women killed in 24 hours and their only reaction is to organize a little meeting days later?” asked Marylie Breuil of activist group Nous Toutes. “No, their work isn’t done.”
The three deaths were especially shocking after high-profile efforts by the French government to prevent such killings, and by French activists and media to shine a light on them.
A 45-year-old woman in the French Riviera city of Nice was found strangled on New Year’s Day in the trunk of her son’s car after her husband turned himself into police, according to the regional prosecutor’s office. The couple had separated last year.
The same day in northeast France, a 56-year-old woman was found stabbed to death in the town of Labry, and her partner acknowledged killing her in an argument, local news site Lorrain Actu quoted the regional prosecutor as saying.
And in western France, a 27-year-old woman was found lying with fatal knife wounds outside her home. Her partner was arrested and told investigators that he stabbed her and an investigation was opened into premeditated murder, according to regional prosecutors.
Moreno called all three “femicides,” or the killing of a woman or girl because of her gender.
Activists who calculate such killings say 113 women in France lost their lives at the hands of current or former partners last year, compared to 102 in 2020 and 152 in 2019, when Macron launched a nationwide campaign against domestic violence.
Breuil says nearly two-thirds of victims had reported past abuse to police, and noted that such killings are “just the top top tip of the iceberg” of domestic abuse. “There are so many signals you can notice” before such abuse turns deadly, she said.
In one shocking case last year, a woman was burned to death by her partner after reporting abuse to a police officer who himself had a previous conviction for domestic violence, and the complaint was mishandled. Six police officials are facing a disciplinary council Tuesday as part of an internal investigation into the case.
The government has increased efforts to train police to respond more effectively and sensitively to reports of abuse. But Breuil says the training doesn’t reach enough police and is too cursory to make a difference. She also called on the government to better apply its own rules on imposing electronic bracelets or restraining orders on abusers.