A sharp reduction in the number of women killed by their partner or ex-partner in 2009 has been reported by the Spanish government on Tuesday, in a sign that measures taken to fight domestic violence are working.
The figure fell by more than 27 percent to 55 from 76 in 2008, Equality Minister Bibiana Aido said.
Although there are four ongoing investigations that could lift the number to 59, it would still be the lowest domestic violence toll since 2002 when 54 women were killed, she told a news conference.
"The 55 women who were killed in 2009 are 55 reasons to continue to work intensely to fight domestic violence. However 21 fewer deaths over 2008 are 21 reasons for hope," she said.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government has launched a number of initiatives since coming to power in 2004 to address the problem of domestic violence in Spain.
A law that came into force in 2005, the first of its kind in Europe, established special courts and treatment centres for female victims of domestic violence.
Three years later the government passed a measure ensuring that all men served with a restraining order by their former partners would be fitted with electronic tags.
Two special phone numbers were also set up: one for men "to channel their aggression" and another for women who have been assaulted by their partners.
A 2006 study found that as many as 1.5 million Spanish women had been victims of domestic violence at least once in their lives.
In November Aido said Spain plans to create a European observatory on domestic violence during its presidency of the European Union during the first half of 2010.