June 10, 2008 / 10:51 AM / 9 years ago

Spain starts helpline for violent husbands

2 Min Read

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain will open a telephone helpline for men who feel tempted to physically attack their wives or partners and need to "channel their aggression," the government said.

"We are talking about a telephone line for men, to help them resolve their doubts, because these days our men feel lost due to the beginning of the end of the patriarchal system," Equality Minister Bibiana Aido told Spanish television on Tuesday.

Conservative media expressed doubts that men on the verge of hitting their partners would interrupt their rage to call a helpline that Aido first revealed in Congress on Monday.

"Bibiana Aido, in her first appearance in the Chamber of Deputies, has demonstrated the ridiculous and phony nature of a ministry which is largely devoted to wishful thinking," wrote newspaper El Mundo.

Spain's Socialist government has made combating domestic violence a priority. While the rate of this type of crime in Spain is comparable to that in other European countries, it has risen in recent years largely due to immigration.

Official figures show immigrant women are six times more likely to be murdered by their partners than Spanish women, which Amnesty International said was due to isolation, language difficulties and economic dependency.

Thirty percent of all women murdered in domestic violence cases last year were immigrants.

Reporting by Jason Webb; Editing by Jon Boyle

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