The New Year murder in Coll d'en Rebassa has brought domestic violence back to the forefront of the social agenda. Two years ago the Spanish Government announced emergency measures to combat domestic violence following a national outcry over the brutal killing of a woman by her husband. But domestic violence remains one of society's biggest problems in Spain and the Balearic womens' rights group Lobby de Dones is taking its own legal action in the case against Albert Lopez. Lopez is accused of slaying his girlfriend with a hammer, after trying to strangle her at their flat on the outskirts of Palma. Women's organisations in Spain insist that machismo attitudes of many males is the underlying reason behind the violence. The issue has gained increasing attention in Spain since the transition from dictatorship to democracy in the mid-1970s. The change saw a dramatic influx of women into the workforce and a consequent rise in their economic power. As Spain heads for the mid-2000*s, domestic violence is still a serious problem which the authorities are desperate to tackle. The Bulletin reported on Tuesday that the Balearic Red Cross's help line, initially set up for the elderly and disabled, is now helping victims of domestic violence. The hot line is currently monitoring ten victims across the islands. A national campaign has been launched to end women's “culture of resignation and silence” by raising awareness, sensitising the public to domestic violence and providing more centres for abused women and affected children. The Balearic government has destined more money for the construction of more centres. The problem peaked in 1997 when more than 60 women died in violent confrontations with their partners and last year, 1'900 other women reported being attacked by husbands or boyfriends, but the figure has fallen little since.

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