Domestic violence which often involves a battered wife and a violent husband is an issue that Spain takes very seriously. So much so that the country has invested in GPS devices that track both the victim and the assailant.
If the battery on the device runs flat, the assailant tries to remove his tag or enters the safety zone of the victim, an alarm is set off in the surveillance centre in Madrid and the police contact the victim and act quickly to offer protection.
The surveillance centre receives around 1,200 serious alerts a month (tag removal or safety perimeter intrusion), triggered by the 450 tags currently fitted in Spain, out of a total of 3,000 that the government purchased in 2009. "We need to improve the courts' appraisal of the risk before enlarging the scope of the system," says Miguel Lorente, a ministry specialist on gender-based violence. Since the beginning of the year, 63 women in Spain have been killed by their partners. Fourteen of them had already lodged a complaint with the police, but none of them had received a GPS phone.
It is hard for the majority of us to understand what prompts men to act violently towards their wives/partners. Certainly the economic crisis has not helped by depriving men of their pride in maintaining the position as provider for their families.
Whatever the reasons for the violence, it is good to know that there is now a system that can protect these women and save them from the inevitable conclusion of this form of torture.