Vosges. Domestic violence in the department: the gendarmes now have their specialized unit

The figures are not surprising and convey a sad feeling of fatalism: in 2021, the Vosges gendarmes listed 728 victims of domestic violence. A figure that has been on an upward curve for a few years (in 2018, the number of victims peaked at 343). Is this increase due to free speech or is it a direct consequence of containment due to Covid ? Probably a bit of both.

In any case, these offenses now represent a preponderant share of all the violence perpetrated in the department: around 40%. “They affect all social backgrounds and all geographical sectors” specifies the Colonel Frederic Avy commander of the Vosges gendarmerie group.

Faced with these figures revealing real social malaise, the creation of the House for the Protection of Families (MPF) is akin to a most logical legal counter-attack. In the wake of all the French departments, the Vosges have in fact just set up this specific gendarmerie unit whose sole leitmotif will be the fight against this intra-family violence.

Already 27 files

Composed of five soldiers (three women and two men) specially trained and sensitized to these offences, the MPF will be in charge of the most serious and sensitive cases. Cases of physical violence, but also those of a sexual, financial or even psychological nature can be taken care of by this unit whose work is similar to that of “criminal police research brigades”.

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Placed under the leadership of Chief Warrant Officer Hubert, the MPF gendarmes will be responsible for collecting complaints from victims, whether adults or minors, knowing that for the latter, the protocol is very specific. “We have to put the child in confidence… These hearings are a large part of our work as well as their transcriptions” affirms the non-commissioned officer, specifying that these soldiers can also question the perpetrators of violence if they are requested.

“We can deal with procedures from A to Z” explains the “boss” of the MPF, specifying that they already have 27 files in charge even though they took up their duties barely two months ago.“This operational unit is the keystone of the Gendarmerie system for combating against domestic violence says Colonel Avy, adding that these soldiers also assume the roles of advisers and support for the brigades intervening directly in this type of incident, as well as that of coordinators with the organizations helping the victims.

In view of this crucial role, the personnel of the MPF must be on the lookout seven days a week, through on-call duty, especially since these cases of violence generally take place at night and on weekends. In short, they don’t have time to be unemployed. But by integrating this structure, which requires a sense of contact and empathy, these gendarmes knew it full well.

Vosges. Domestic violence in the department: the gendarmes now have their specialized unit