France domestic violence: vote to lift patient confidentiality

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Reuters

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Protesters marched last year to demand an end to violence against women


The French parliament is due to vote on a bill intended to protect victims of domestic violence.

The bill introduces an exception to medical confidentiality in cases of “immediate danger”.

The bill was approved last week by the National Assembly and is submitted to the Senate on Tuesday afternoon.

According to government figures, a woman is killed in France by a partner or ex-partner every three days, one of the highest rates in Western Europe.

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The bill authorizes physicians or other health professionals to break patient confidentiality when they “consider in conscience” that violence puts the victim’s life “in immediate danger” and that there is a situation of control.

The text also increases the penalties for harassment within the couple, increasing the penalties to 10 years of imprisonment in cases where it leads the victim to commit suicide or to attempt to commit suicide.

In order to protect children, the bill also opens up the possibility of suspending parental authority in cases of domestic violence, he adds.

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Media captionLarge rallies to protest against femicide were held in November last year

Last year 149 women are believed to have died from domestic violence, new gender equality minister Elisabeth Moreno told MPs last week, citing figures from advocacy groups.

Since the start of 2020, at least 39 women have been killed by their spouse or ex-spouse, according to a count kept by the AFP news agency.

Some activists from advocacy groups have already argued that government measures are not very important or lack funding to be truly effective.

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Media captionFrench women talk about their experiences of sexual harassment in public

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