Spain presents law against child abuse despite negative vote Vox

by Lorraine Williamson
only 15% of child abuse is reported

MADRID – The law on child abuse to protect children from violence in Spain was announced in April. It has since been passed by the Spanish parliament on Wednesday. Politics has included additions based on current issues and on the advice of victims themselves. 

In June 2020, Pablo Iglesias presented the so-called Rhodes Law which aims to better protect children and young adults from today’s violence in Spain. The new legislation is due to the fact violations took place that were not provided for in the initial legislation. Parliament also made grateful use of experiences from victims to ensure children are given maximum protection in these situations. 

Ban on complete undressing and invasive examinations of migrant children 

One of the additions is a ban on full undressing during medical examinations. Specifically this includes genital examinations or other invasive medical tests to determine age of migrant children who have entered the country unaccompanied. In situations when examinations must take place, this must be done according to a strict protocol. 

Obligation to report child abuse and violence 

The new law for the protection of children obliges everyone to report child abuse. Victim organisations have been calling for a tougher approach for some time. According to children’s rights organisation Save the Children, one in five Spanish children will experience some form of abuse. However, only 15% of them eventually report it. 

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Special courts in Spain for child violence cases 

Previously, the statute of limitations of up to 15 years started to run when the victim turns 18, but under the new legislation that age is increased to 35 years. It is also established that when a case has to be brought to court, children under the age of 14 do not have to go through the painful witness process more than once. Special courts are also designated to deal with these types of cases. 

Online violence part of new law 

The definition of violence has also been broadened: Online bullying and violence will also be among the violations within this law. Security services will pay special attention to the well-being and protection of children at school against any form of violence. 

Vox only Spanish party to vote against 

The additions to the Rhodes Law received support from all political parties except Vox. Abascal’s party believes that this is “meddlesome and totalitarian legislation that provides for unusual interference in the family, with the excuse to protect minors”. 

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