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France (Guadeloupe): Availability of protection for women who suffer abuse or assault (spousal abuse by common-law spouse)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 5 March 2003
Citation / Document Symbol FRA41264.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, France (Guadeloupe): Availability of protection for women who suffer abuse or assault (spousal abuse by common-law spouse), 5 March 2003, FRA41264.E, available at: [accessed 24 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to information provided by consular staff at the Embassy of France in Ottawa during a 4 March 2003 telephone interview, Guadeloupe is a department of France and, as such, subject to its laws and regulations.

Information on domestic violence and spousal abuse in France can be found in FRA19706.E of 8 February 1995 and in Country Reports 2001, available at Regional Documentation Centres.

The Government of France indicates that victims of spousal violence can contact the National Women's Documentation and Information Centre (Centre national d'information et de documentation des femmes et des familles, CNIDFF) to obtain a range of information and directions to the nearest assistance centre, and/or contact the National Institute of Assistance to Victims and Mediation (Institut national d'aide aux victimes et de médiation, INAVEM) for help locating the nearest victim assistance centre (service d'aide aux victimes) (France 3 Mar. 2003). The social services ministries of France (Ministere des affaires sociales, du travail et de la solidarité and Ministere de la santé, de la famille et des personnes handicapées) name two places that women who are victims of violence can approach in Guadeloupe: Initiative ECO, in Basse-Terre, and CIDF at Pointe à Pitre (ibid. 21 May 2002).A France-based organization, SOS-Femmes, names the Societé Saint Vincent de Paul in Abymes as a specialized centre for assisting female victims of violence in Guadeloupe (SOS-Femmes 19 Sept. 2002).

Additional information can be found in the attached excerpt from the most recent country report submitted by France to the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) for its 30 June-18 July 2003 Session. This excerpt provides information on the subjects of violence against women and marital violence.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


France. 4 March 2003. Embassy of France, Ottawa. Telephone interview with consular staff.

_____. 3 March 2003. Service-Public. "Vos droits et démarches: justice. Violences conjugales." [Accessed 4 Mar. 2003]

_____. 21 May 2002. Ministere des affaires sociales, du travail et de la solidarité and Ministere de la santé, de la famille et des personnes handicapées. "Dom [Départements d'outre-mer]: les permanences d'accueil pour les femmes victimes de violence – Guadeloupe." [Accessed 4 Mar. 2003]

SOS-Femmes [Paris]. 19 September 2002. "Centre > 96 Guadeloupe." [Accessed 4 Mar. 2003]

Electronic Attachment

United Nations (UN). 18 October 1999. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Third Report of State Parties: France, pp. 57-58. (CEDAW/C/FRA/3) [Accessed 4 Mar. 2003]

Violence against women

Detailed information on violence against women is not available as such. It is difficult to define exactly, since this is a complex concept encompassing many factors: rape, incest, marital violence, sexual harassment, and others. Also, many victims do not report offences for a variety of reasons (fear, pressure from people around them, ignorance of procedures, concern that their children will be taken away from them).

For marital violence, 17,000 complaints were made in 1995, not counting Paris (sources: Interior and Defence Ministries).

...It should be noted that in the cities over 16,000 acts of violence against women are brought to police attention every year and that, in some highly

urbanized areas, marital violence accounts for over half the emergency calls.

Although these numbers are rising, it is difficult to draw the conclusion that violence is on the increase. Mainly because of the information campaigns conducted regularly by the authorities and the support provided for women by the associations, the proportion of victims who report violence is going up all the time.

Marital violence

Law No. 92-684 of 22 July 1992, which reforms the provisions of the Penal Code relating to the punishment of crimes and offences against the person, makes specific provision for violence committed "by the spouse or partner of the victim". Articles 222-7 et seq. penalize violence against persons, and the personality of the perpetrator (spouse or partner) can be taken as a circumstance entailing possible aggravation of the penalties applicable to these offences. It should be noted that any violence committed by a spouse or partner is now an offence, whatever the resulting incapacity for work.

These provisions entered into force in 1994.

French law thus clearly condemns marital violence on principle: assessment of the injury suffered (appraisal being very subjective) has no bearing on the status of the offence, although it may affect the severity of the penalty.

With the application of the new Penal Code since 1994 has come a systematic increase in the penalties for violence committed by a spouse or partner. Recently, an interministerial circular concerning measures to combat violence against women within a couple was signed by the Ministers of Employment and Solidarity, Justice, Interior, and Defence (UN 18 Oct. 1999, 57-58).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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