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Gender-based Violence

    What is gender-based violence?

    It is the violence exercised by a MAN against the WOMAN who is or has been his partner, has mediated or has not cohabited.

    On December 28, 2004, Organic Law 1/2004 on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender-Based Violence was born, which is defined as "Violence that is directed against women by the very fact of being women, because they are considered, by their aggressors, lacking the minimum rights of freedom, respect and decision-making capacity."This law explicitly refers to relationships of couples or ex-partners as an active subject of violence and collects legal action and care centered on the female victim.

    What is domestic violence?

    It is the violence exercised within the family as long as it is not gender-based violence, this is:

    • Violence within the couple when it is not gender-based violence: violence exercised by a WOMAN over her male partner, that exercised by a WOMAN over her female partner or that exercised by a MAN over her male partner, whether or not there has been coexistence.
    • Violence between family members (parents against sons or daughters; sons or daughters against parents, siblings against siblings, provided there is coexistence.


    What is the difference between gender-based violence and domestic violence?

    Gender-based violence takes place in the field of relationships and expares in which the victim is the woman.

    Domestic violence takes place in the field of partner or ex-partner relationships in which the victim is male or both involved are of the same sex.

    Domestic violence also includes other family relationships, parents-daughters and vice versa, cousin, uncle, grandparent, sister etc..., provided there is coexistence between them

    How do I know if I'm a battered woman?

    You are experiencing gender-based violence, if your partner or ex-partner performs any of these actions:

    • He physically or sexually assaults you if you've experienced physical or sexual violence.
    • He threatens you: He tells you he's going to kill you or he's going to hurt you.
    • He coercions you: He tells you he's going to take his life if you leave him, he constantly calls you to come back to him, he harasses you, he chases you, he blackmails you
    • It controls you: It wants to know where you are at all times, monitor and monitor your states through social networks or if you are talking to someone, it requires explanations of who you are or where you have gone, control how you dress, what you do, control your money
    • Humiliates you: He belitts you by telling you that you're not worth it or that you don't know how to do anything, ridicules you in public, blames you for everything, insults you
    • Isolates you: He doesn't like you seeing or talking to your friends or family and trying to stop it, he doesn't like you doing other leisure, worship or work activities

    Your children are also victims of gender-based violence if:

    • It has threatened to do you some harm to harm you, such as beating them, insulting them or taking them without your consent..
    • They have witnessed the violence against you, they have witnessed how it insults you, threatens, assaults, humiliates>
    • They've lived with you while you've experienced gender-based violence

    What can I do if I'm mistreated?

    • If you are in danger or think someone may be, call 112 or bring them to the attention of the Ertzaintza through the SOS DEIAK App or the ERTZAINTZA App.
    • If urgent, call 112, we will take care of you immediately, transfer you to a medical center, if necessary, and manage care for the minors in your care.
    • If it is not urgent, you can use the ERTZAINTZA App, which also offers you the possibility to send anonymous messages, which are not tracked, guaranteeing confidentiality.
    • If you approach an ertzain-etxea, we'll let you know. In addition, they collect complaints 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
    • We will inform you of your rights as a victim and, if you wish, you can be assisted by a lawyer or lawyer who advises you and guarantees your rights in the taking of complaint and first appearance in the Court for free, as well as you can apply for a Protective Order that includes criminal protection measures and provisional civil measures (custody , housing use, visitation regime)
    • We will contact emergency social services, if you wish and need it.
    • We will request an interpreter of the language you need or sign language, both for the taking of the complaint and for the appearance in court.
    • We will conduct a risk assessment of your case and take appropriate protective measures based on the level of risk.
    • We will open a dossier and follow up customized, updating the level of risk based on the evolution of your case and adapting the necessary protective measures.
    • We will inform you and explain the self-protection measures to be taken.
    • We will offer you to install on your mobile phone a bortxa app, with which you can contact us and us directly and, in case of incident or risk situation, we will activate the GPS locator of the mobile to come to your help.
    • If you have been granted protective measures in court, if your level of risk requires it and you wish, we will ask the Court for a GPS telematics wristband.
    • If you have injuries of any kind, go to a medical center and tell what happened, you will be given a copy of the medical part to attach it to the report.
    • In case you have photos, videos or messages with insults, threats etc... WhatsApp, email, or any other social network, do not delete them, nor delete the received call logs.
    • If there are witnesses to the facts, ask them their details, first name, surname, address and phone number.
    • If you're in an irregular situation, don't panic, DENUNCIA. We're here to protect you.
    • If you have any type of disability, please let them know so we can help you and tailor our service to your needs.
    If you're not a victim but think someone close to you could be, come and find out, you can also report it.

    Who can report? Is the complaint necessary?

    Anyone who is aware that gender-based violence is taking place can report it, you don't have to be the victim or even have a relationship with it.

    The complaint is sent to the Court and if the Court issues a Protective Order, at least as long as it is in force, the police will protect the victim.

    However, the Ertzaintza does not necessarily link protection to the existence of a judicially issued Protection Order. That is, neither the filing of the complaint nor the existence of an existing Protective Order is required to protect the victims.

    This means that, if the Ertzaintza is aware that a situation of gender-based violence is taking place, no complaint is needed, the Ertzaintza can, ex officio, begin the investigation and bring that situation to the court's knowledge.

    Once the Court is aware of this situation, it may or may not issue a Protective Order. If the Court does not issue a Protective Order, the Ertzaintza may protect that woman if she believes that a risk to that person's integrity is being given.

    The main requirement for the protection of the victim is the conviction on the part of Ertzaintza staff that we are faced with a case of abuse.

    Therefore, even if the victim does not wish to complain, even if the Court does not issue a Protective Order or if he issues it, the victim is already defeated, the Ertzaintza must protect the victim.

    The Ertzaintza may be aware that a situation of abuse is taking place by any means: by a police action, by a telephone call, by a message that arrives at the App of the Ertzaintza, by an email message that reaches an address of the Ertzaintza, by an anonymous communication on any medium...

    Ertzaintza works on Domestic Violence and Gender Violence through the EBA (Etxekoen eta emakumeen BAbesa), which is a work philosophy wherever anyone victims of domestic or gender-based violence in the Basque Country is treated and protected in the same way, regardless of where in the Basque Country they are in or the Police Corps that is supporting them.

    EBA is the computer tool that collects and brings together police work against domestic and gender-based violence in the ECA, affecting all the institutions and police forces working on this problem in our Community, with different levels and forms of access.

    With regard to Ertzaintza, procedures for action on domestic abuse have been guided since 2002 through Police Instructions.

    There is, in our Community, a special sensitivity to this social problem, and ensuring the safety of victims against aggressors is a basic issue in the treatment of gender-based violence.

    That is why Ertzaintza provides active protection to 100% of the victims it is aware of, and all are registered within a computer application that is called the EBA File.

    Since then, regardless of the assumption of the risk on the part of the victim, and even the decision adopted at the judicial office, police protection (always active) is provided.

    It is also important to note that EBA does not differentiate women victims of violence by their partners from those other women who are victims of domestic abuse. The treatment of both groups of victims is not based on the type of violence, but on the level of risk individually associated with each of them.

    Ertzaintza addresses the issue of Domestic Violence/Gender Violence (hereinafter VD/VG) involving much of its structure.

    It does not establish "special units", but opts for a system that aims to involve each professional through a process that defines and establishes procedures of action and responsibilities at each stage and standardizes the way to proceed.

    The EBA file is the computer program that brings together the entire history of a CHRONOlogically ordered VD/VG case into different tasks and opens up for each family nucleus in which a situation of abuse is recorded, regardless of the number of aggressors and/or victims.

    The opening of the EBA file begins from the moment the Ertzaintza is aware of a VD/VG incident, there is or is no complaint. Similarly, protection efforts are initiated for all victims, regardless of the level of risk associated with each victim.

    The EBA file shall remain open, regardless of the judicial decision adopted at the time of the oral hearing, until the requirements for its closure are met, contained in the corresponding Police Service Order.

    Each file is assigned an instructor team composed of one or an instructor, belonging to the Head of the Ertzain-etxea where the victim resides and one or a secretary, belonging to the group of ertzainas responsible for the monitoring and treatment of VD/VG cases. In these files, all information related to the case known to the Instructor Team will be entered, through the different contacts with the aggressors and / or victims, either telephone or by the regular interviews held with them or those requested by them.

    The risk assessments that are made to each of the victims are always more than one, dynamic over time and supervised by more than one person, and the level of associated risk may vary, if applicable, depending on new information.

    Ertzaintza, in its quest to provide more effective protection to all VD/VG victims, requested, in 2006, the collaboration of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), in order to find a scientific tool that would be able to identify indicators that show a higher likelihood of incidents of serious violence and, in turn, rigorously calculate the level of risk associated with each victim and, as a result, take the police measures according to that level of risk.

    The professor of clinical psychology, Mr. Enrique Echeburúa and his team, worked with the Ertzaintza analyzing the available data, finally conducting the study on 1081 VD/VG cases. From the result of this joint work emerged, in 2007, the "scale of prediction of risk of serious violence against the couple", which Ertzaintza incorporated into its VD/VG files, as an easy-to-use and practical tool for the calculation of risk levels, in cases of relationship.

    The risk prediction scale consists of 20 items, selected from their increased discriminatory capacity for serious violence.

    Currently the Ertzaintza has established four levels of risk:

    • Basic: Low probability that new violent incidents may occur.
    • Moderate: Some chance of new violent incidents.
    • High: High probability that new violent incidents may occur.
    • Special: Very high probability that new violent incidents may occur.

    It should be noted that the tool for calculating the level of risk is used by different ertzains, in the same case and for each victim, as interobserver reliability, which gives greater validity to the result obtained. In addition, it allows in a dynamic and constant way to adapt the necessary protective measures to the circumstances of the case and needs of the victim.

    This working methodology forced an initial effort to train police personnel, supplemented, over time, with periods of continuous training. In addition, given the special importance of Ertzaintza's commitments to the safety of victims, it has been necessary to introduce aid and anti-error systems into the computer risk level calculation tool, which gives it, if possible, greater guarantees of effectiveness.

    Once the level of risk associated with the victim has been calculated, in parallel, a number of mandatory and optional police protective measures are assigned to him, where appropriate.


    The Quality Management System is an instrument to advance the Ertzaintza institution in an attitude of improvement and permanent improvement. Therefore, in 2005, the decision is made to implement a working system in the Ertzaintza covering all actions arising from VD/VG cases.

    The company AENOR audited the process in accordance with UNE-EN 9001-2000, certified on April 17, 2008, highlighting the systematic compliance of the established management system and its adaptation to the reference standard, as well as the overview and approach to the interests of the Organization and the interested parties (victims themselves), the rigor of documentary content and the methodology evidenced in its control. Highlighting as one of the basic pieces of the process of actions derived from VD/VG acts the risk assessment tool.

    In addition to the audits to which the VD/VG process submits, the victims who wish to do so respond to a questionnaire that measures the degree of satisfaction in their relationship with Ertzaintza.

    The responses show an excellent level of satisfaction of the victims in relation to the care received by Ertzaintza.


    Ertzaintza makes an effort to explain to all the institutions involved in this problem what the characteristics of its process are.

    The opinions expressed are excellent and highly appreciate the approach to protection provided by Ertzaintza and especially the existence of a risk assessment tool that allows, regardless of the ertzain-etxea or ertzainas that deal with the case, to establish a balanced response to the protection needs of each victim. And on the other hand, let protection extend to all victims, even those with a basic level of risk.

    In recent years, Ertzaintza has established institutional protocols with town halls, commonwealths and other police forces that refer to the risk assessment tool, which is explained to the other participants.


    Between the Ertzaintza and other police forces there is a correct dynamic of exchange of information regarding victims who move their home from one area of competence to another, which in the Ertzaintza are contained in one of its police service orders and, in case of victims with special risk level, reaches even temporary transfers.