Six French police officers will appear in disciplinary hearings on January 4, accused of “administrative shortcomings” in the horrific case of Chahinez Daoud, who was killed by her husband in May last year. Daoud was one of 113 murders of women in France in 2021, a number that continues to rise despite high-profile campaigns and government measures aimed at combating violence.
Late in the afternoon of May 4, 2021, Chahinez Daoud stumbled out of his home on Avenue Carnot in the affluent Merignac area near Bordeaux in southwestern France. The 31-year-old mother of three was persecuted by her foreign husband. He shot her in the legs a number of times and she fell to the ground. He took a can of flammable liquid from a van parked in front of their house, extinguished it with it and set it on fire. The fire brigade arrived shortly after 6.30 pm but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her 44-year-old ex-husband fled before authorities arrived. He was arrested half an hour later, almost 5 kilometers away in the neighboring district of Pessac. When he was arrested, he had a 12-gauge shotgun, a pellet gun and a cartridge belt.
Their children – 3, 7 and 11 years old – lived with their mother but were not at home at the time of the horrific attack.
At the time of Daoud’s murder, her ex-husband had already been convicted by the Bordeaux criminal court in June 2020 of having committed “intentional violence” against her. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison but was released the following December, although he was banned from contacting his former partner.
France is still one of the European countries with the highest number of murders of women per capita. It is estimated that at least one woman is killed by her partner or former partner every three days.
Just two months before the attack, Daoud had filed a new complaint against his ex-husband. But the policeman’s report was illegible and was never properly forwarded to judicial authorities, according to a state review of how the case was handled.
“It is important to know that a third of women victims of homicide submit a complaint to the police before they are killed – but no real action is taken to prevent the crime from happening,” said Maëlle Noir, member of the national steering committee of the French feminist collective Nous Toutes (” All of us “), told FRANCE 24.” The French government is not taking enough action to protect the victims. ”
– There is a crucial lack of education when it comes to receiving complaints regarding gender-based violence. This should be mandatory for anyone dealing with vulnerable people who come to them to report an attack or fear of an attack. ”
The official who received Daoud’s complaint on March 15 had himself recently been convicted of “ordinary domestic violence”, the public prosecutor’s office said in July, confirming a report published in the weekly Le Canard enchaîné.
“On June 24, we were informed by Bordeaux’s execution judge that one of the officials who received the complaint from Chahinez Daoud himself had been convicted of domestic violence,” the Bordeaux prosecutor’s office told AFP.
The police received a suspended prison sentence of eight months and were in the middle of a disciplinary procedure when he recorded Daoud’s complaint. He was moved from a post that was about the public only after she was killed.
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Eight months to the day after Daoud’s brutal assassination, six police officers will appear before two disciplinary boards – in Bordeaux and Paris – on January 4. Four officials and the police commissioner, including the head of the Department of Public Security (DDSP), will present their accounts in Paris while two police officers will be heard in Bordeaux.
The latter are suspected of “administrative failures”, says Eric Marrocq, regional secretary of the Alliance’s police union, in comments to AFP. “An examination of the case by the Disciplinary Board will make it possible to address doubts about their impartiality and professionalism,” he explained. The four superiors called to Paris include the commander of the Western Division and the Commissar of Mérignac.
– It is good that the police now know that it can have consequences. But that is not enough, says Julia * from the collective Féminicides par compagnons ou ex, to FRANCE 24.
“The problem is not just with the police, it is the whole system. The judiciary also plays a key role. If the police do their job well and arrest someone, it is up to the judge to impose the right punishment. Instead, we have repeat offenders who are released too quickly and quickly. returns to attack again. ”
113 women 2021
In 2019, 146 women were reported killed by a spouse or partner, an increase of 21 percent from the previous year. Following protests across France, the government introduced the use of electronic wristbands to warn victims when their attackers are nearby in September 2020. That year, the number of homicides decreased: According to domestic violence figures from the Interior Ministry, 102 women and 23 men were killed.
Daoud was the 39th of the final 113 women who died at the hands of a partner or ex-partner in France in 2021.
From 08:00 to 20:00 on January 1, 2022, three murders of women took place in different corners of France. The first victim was stabbed to death by his partner in western France. A second woman was killed by her husband at home in the northeast and the third victim was strangled by her ex-partner and then hidden in the trunk of a car in Nice.
Hier, the 1/1 in Nice (06) a woman was killed by her ex-partner by strangulation. The body was discovered in a trunk.
It’s the 3rd femicide of the year. @ Emmanuelmacron 3 females in 24h and no reaction. It is cruel.
Source: @feminicidesfr pic.twitter.com/PEV0K8CWoR
– #NousToutes (@NousToutesOrg) January 2, 2022
“The beginning of a new year is always a tricky time,” said Julia. “People do not want to be alone. They are looking for partners even if they are strangers – it can be a very stressful time. We always see peaks during the holidays, both winter and summer. Men are reminded that they will not be with their families and they may find this very difficult to deal with. ”
Noir from Nous Toutes believes that a change must take place in the way French society thinks about gender-based violence.
“It has to happen in the media, education, the judiciary – everywhere. We have to start thinking of it as a systemic issue rather than an individual issue. In the media, for example, feminicide is often described as a fait divers (sensational news) rather than a systemic, patriarchal issue. “Education is clearly an important part of the change that needs to take place.”
The collective Féminicides par compagnons ou ex has registered all murders of women that take place in France in the last six years – 770 deaths since 2016.
“It is a difficult but necessary task to ensure that these women do not remain invisible, that they are named whenever possible and not just become one of the many anonymous victims in a global annual figure that does not cause much concern or indignation among politicians or even society, ”the group says on its Facebook page.
“These are not ‘family dramas’ or ‘breakup dramas’ or ‘passion crimes’. These are marital murders committed by frustrated men who think they have a license to kill.”
* Name changed