A leading French women’s rights group has blasted the authorities for being too slow and “contemptuous” in tackling domestic abuse, after a response to a family dispute call ended in a bloody standoff with police.

The testimony of the shooter’s ex-wife has “once again highlighted the indifference and inaction of the state towards complaints of women who are victims of violence,” the Women’s Foundation said in a statement.

On December 23, former soldier Frederic Limol fatally shot three gendarmes who were responding to a domestic violence call in the French countryside. Limol set his house on fire and fled the scene by car. He was later found dead inside the vehicle, having crashed into a tree.

Limol’s ex-wife told the French media he was a survivalist who had been stacking weapons and had made numerous threats against her and the couple’s child. She said she had filed two complaints against him, but no action had been taken.

According to the Women’s Foundation, the shooter’s former partner had even written to France’s Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa. “Each complaint was left unanswered,” the rights group stated.

Legal harassment and multiple threats, particularly surrounding the custody of the child, repeated physical violence, the possession of firearms and the display of masculinist ideology… had not been considered sufficient signals by authorities. Yet everything suggested that this man was extremely dangerous.

The group’s founder and president, Anne-Cecile Mailfert, told the Franceinfo TV channel the justice system worked too slow and police were often “contemptuous” about domestic abuse, so urgent action was required to improve the situation.

According to the Women’s Foundation, at least 93 women have been murdered by their partners in France this year alone. The group said the country needs “a real Marshall Plan” to tackle the issue.

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