Parliament definitively approves an exception to medical confidentiality

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The text authorizes the doctor or any other health professional to derogate from professional secrecy when he “considers in conscience” that the violence puts the life of the victim “in immediate danger”.

The final vote was taken unanimously in the Senate. Parliament adopted definitively, Tuesday, July 21, a bill intended to better “protect victims of domestic violence”, which notably introduces an exception to medical confidentiality. Approved last week by the National Assembly, it authorizes the doctor or any other health professional to waive professional secrecy when “esteem in conscience” that violence takes the life of the victim “in immediate danger” and that there is a situation of control.

The wording was clarified by the senators on this disputed provision which touches on a pillar of the relationship between the doctor and his patient. In a column published Tuesday by The world, the president of the National Council of the Order of Midwives, Anne-Marie Curat, regrets this measure, considering that it “contributes to the loss of self-esteem and autonomy of the woman, whereas this is in particular the objective of the violent man”.

“In 2019, 149 women lost their lives and as many families broken forever. We cannot remain inert in the face of these human tragedies”, underlined in front of the deputies the new Minister delegate for Equality between women and men Elisabeth Moreno, taking again figures of associations.

The text also increases the penalties for harassment within the couple, bringing them to 10 years’ imprisonment when the harassment has led the victim to commit suicide or to attempt to commit suicide.

It represses the geolocation of a person without their consent and creates an aggravating circumstance in the event of violation of the secrecy of correspondence by a spouse or ex-spouse, to better fight against “conjugal cyberviolence”.

In order to protect children, the bill opens up the possibility of suspending parental authority in a judicial control. It also strengthens the protection of minors regarding exposure to pornography.

At the initiative of its rapporteur Marie Mercier (LR), the Senate imposed an age control on the publishers of pornographic sites, giving the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) a new regulatory power.

A first series of measures against violence within the family had already been adopted at the end of 2019, in a bill by MP LR Aurélien Pradié, including the generalization of the anti-reconciliation bracelet against violent spouses and ex-spouses.

“We are not done with the texts on violence against women”, warned Laurence Rossignol (PS), for whom the text adopted on Tuesday “don’t go to the end”. “The fight against domestic violence cannot pass only through repressive action, it also involves carrying out educational work, social and psychological support work for victims, but also for perpetrators to prevent recidivism”, underlined for her part Marie Mercier.



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