No visit for parents in Spain accused of domestic abuse

by Lorraine Williamson
domestic abuse of a child
nederlandse orthopeed

MADRID – Parents accused of domestic abuse will not be allowed to see their children from Friday 3 September. The change in Spanish law, approved in May 2021, should give judges more resources to act quickly in the best interests of the child. 

On May 20, 2021, Parliament approved this amendment. The purpose of this measure is to give judges the necessary means to be able to quickly change access arrangements if they believe it is in the best interests of the child. This is in contrast to the lengthy procedures that had to be followed prior to Friday. 

Visitation arrangements after domestic abuse

Article 94 of the Code states from September 3, the introduction of a visitation or visitation arrangement cannot take place. Or if it existed, can be temporarily suspended – for the parent involved in criminal proceedings started because of a (death) threat, restricting (sexual) freedom, or affecting the physical or moral integrity of the partner or one of the children. In Spain, this offense is known as ‘violencia de género’, or domestic violence. 

If the parent concerned is in prison, because there is still a case of pre-trial detention or if the person is serving a prison sentence, then no visitation arrangements can be made under any circumstances. 

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When can parent-child contact be allowed? 

Contact between parent and child can be allowed if it is clearly demonstrated a settlement is in the best interests of the minor. The same is the case when it concerns an adult child with a disability. However, this is only if the child wants this and gives permission. In any case, this is always after assessment of the parent-child relationship. 

Domestic violence is still too common in Spain 

With this amendment, the government hopes to further reduce domestic violence in Spain. Too often parents take revenge on their ex-partners by inflicting violence on their children. Data on these types of cases have been kept since 2013. Since then, 41 children have died at the hands of one of the parents, including 4 children this year alone. 

Two recent victims are sisters Anna (1) and Olivia (6). They were killed by their father in Tenerife at the end of April to hurt the mother after a divorce. 

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