Procedures, recourse? Valérie Campora Lucas, Director General of Assistance to Victims of Criminal Offenses of Monaco (AVIP) answers our questions.
The case dates back to early July. Monaco-Morning relayed in its columns a sad story; that of a woman victim of domestic violence and who, after three handrails, finally filed a complaint against her husband, recognized as an alcoholic. Insofar as both reside in the Principality, the latter was sentenced by the Criminal Court of Monaco to a six-month suspended sentence, obligation of care and payment of 1,000 euros to the civil party.
For Valérie Campora Lucas, Director General of Aid to Victims of Criminal Offenses (AVIP), this condemnation is a real victory: “ We were aware of this case, she confides to us. We did not have the follow-up of this abused young woman, but from the moment there is a conviction, it is positive for the victim, who is recognized as such by the justice system. It may seem trivial from the outside, but it is very important to her, because the process of filing a complaint is very long and complicated.. »
What is AVIP?
And precisely, it is to accompany the victims in these long processes that the AVIP was created. Set up in 2014, after the promulgation of a 2011 law related to specific violence, the association began to operate in 2017, with premises and subsidies available. Here, qualified teams welcome victims of any criminal offense committed on Monegasque territory. Each year, nearly 60 new people who have suffered sexual or intra-family violence, intentional assault and battery or domestic violence are treated. And this last part remains the majority.
Former victim referent within the Public Security, Valérie joined AVIP when it was created. For her, the process was more than necessary: “ There was a real need to create a neutral entity, capable of hearing the victim’s words. It’s not always easy for someone to go to the police right away, without really knowing what they’re going to be asked for, the documents they’re going to need. Especially since there is often influence or feelings towards the author. There is a whole process to put in place. »
Within AVIP, victims are listened to and benefit from legal, psychological and administrative support. Nationals who have been assaulted outside the Principality are also concerned by this system. As for people who cannot be taken care of, there is no question of leaving them on their own: AVIP advises them and redirects them to the competent authorities.
READ ALSO: 4 actions of the Principality to fight against violence against women
Once the door is crossed by the victim, a large part of the work is already done: ” when a person comes to see us or calls us, we have already gained freedom of speech, testifies Valérie. It’s a huge step forward. Our goal, then, is to make her understand that it is not for her to be ashamed or to feel guilty.
We work with her to prepare everything necessary for filing a complaint. On the day of the complaint, emotions will emerge, the person may forget certain facts. The victim is prepared for the fact that he may be confronted with the author, or that the complaint may be dismissed, if the judge considers that the evidence is not sufficient. This is why we try to recover as many elements as possible, because justice judges on facts and not on words. (…) It can be testimonials from relatives, medical certificates… Note that if the person is in an emergency situation, in immediate danger, we have the means to accommodate him in a hotel and the DASO can take over. »
Because this is a major strong point of the Principality: the authorities work together, collaborate, to form a real network of assistance to victims: “ in a phone call we can solve many problems, but we always do it with the agreement of the victim. We alert the Prosecutor without agreement only if we know that minors are in immediate and real danger. »
Public Security, DASO (Direction de l’Action et de l’Aide Sociales), AVIP and Monegasque associations thus work together, discuss and ensure joint monitoring, by sharing the information they have, always with the victim’s consent.
What are the signs that should alert victims and relatives?
Another problem: it often happens that a victim – out of fear or denial – does not dare to approach the competent authorities. But for Valérie, loved ones can act, if only by spotting certain signs: “ in general, the victim is isolated. Family and friends no longer have any news, or less and less. The author tries to make his victim mute. In this case, it is important not to judge the victim, nor even to have words that are too harsh towards the perpetrator. We must put the victim in confidence, explain to him that he is not zero, that it is not his fault and that we are there to listen to him. »
Valérie also specifies that the AVIP welcomes and advises the relatives of victims to help them encourage the victim to speak.
For the latter, the recommendation is simple: from the first slap or the first blow, you must immediately put yourself on alert because it is very rare that the person does not start again. Initially, it’s the love nest: if a man or a woman slapped the first day, we would know immediately in what situation we are. But unfortunately, this love nest is gradually turning into a straightjacket. At the first sign of violence, you have to leave. »
READ ALSO: Monegasque law strengthens the protection of women’s rights
What should I do if I receive threats from the author?
Given the specificity of Monaco, it often happens that victims do not dare to lodge a complaint, because they are financially dependent on the perpetrator of the violence. A fear that usually comes from threats made by their companion or companion.
And on this last point, Valérie is formal: to estimate that the size of the wallet or the degree of influence of a perpetrator of domestic violence allows him to evade justice ” is an idea that must be chased away. »
” There is no right pass, she hammers. If any person commits violence, they will be condemned. Financial means can allow some to have big lawyers on their side. But, in this case, a victim also has the right to be defended. Women who don’t work or don’t have a lot of money often told us that they were afraid, because the husbands told them that if they left, or if they tried anything, they would take the children. and they would not see them again.
I insist on this point: it is not true, even if you do not have Monegasque nationality. A mother has her rights in Monaco, whatever her origin or her professional or financial situation. We still have women who stay with an abusive husband because they have this belief in mind. »
Victim or witness? Here are the organizations to contact:
- AVIP website – 21 Rue de la Turbie, 98000 Monaco
- By phone: +377 93 25 00 07 (every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
- By email: email@example.com
- Public Security: 9 rue Suffren Reymond, 98000 Monaco
- +377 93 15 30 15
- DASO: 23 avenue Albert II
- +377 98 98 41 00 (9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday)