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Argentina: Protection and remedies available to victims of domestic violence, particularly in Buenos Aires and Mendoza Province (1999-March 2000)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 12 April 2000
Citation / Document Symbol ARG34113.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Argentina: Protection and remedies available to victims of domestic violence, particularly in Buenos Aires and Mendoza Province (1999-March 2000), 12 April 2000, ARG34113.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad4c18.html [accessed 2 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Argentina is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (SNIM 1999a). At the national level, the Consejo Nacional de la Mujer (National Women's Council, CNM) is the state agency responsible for ensuring that the Argentinean government meets its commitments under the terms of the latter convention (CNM 2000).

On 28 December 1994, the federal government promulgated Law No. 24.417 to Protect against Family Violence (Ley No. 24.417 de Protección contra la Violencia Familiar). The law established a framework within which victims of domestic violence could register complaints before a judge competent in family affairs (juez con competencia en asuntos de familia) and ask that precautionary measures (medidas cautelares) be taken (UNDP 1999). Under the terms of Article 4 of Law No. 24.417, a judge may order the following precautionary measures: exclusion of the perpetrator from the family dwelling; prohibition of access to the victim's home or place of work or study; re-integration into the family home of individuals who were forced to leave for reasons of personal safety; and issuance of provisional orders for support and for the right of communication with the children (decretar provisoriamente alimentos, tenencia y derecho de comunicación con los hijos) (CNM n.d.). However, both the UNDP and El Dia have criticized Law 24.417 because it does not provide for sanctions against those who fail to comply with its terms, and because it is only in force in the City of Buenos Aires (UNDP 1999; El Dia 27 Nov. 1999).

In a 6 June 1999 La Nación report, Ester Schiavoni, president of the CNM, claimed that cultural factors mitigate against the application of domestic violence laws in Argentina. According to a management committee board member of the Asociación Argentina de Prevención de la Violencia Familiar (Argentinean Association for the Prevention of Family Violence), a non-governmental organization based in Buenos Aires that works with abusive men and battered women, "even in instances where a woman was battered, and there is clear evidence of physical violence, some police stations would refuse to file a report" (6 Mar. 2000). In a 29 February 2000 interview, a physician at the Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (Foundation for Women's Studies and Research, FEIM), a non-governmental organization based in Buenos Aires, claimed that police are not well trained to deal with female victims of violence, and that there is generally a lack of consciousness on the part of the police and social services personnel regarding the importance of this issue.

However, a number of reports published since January 1999 describe programs or services being delivered in the City of Buenos Aires to prevent domestic violence or to assist the victims of such violence. For example, in 1998 the government of the Province of Buenos Aires began to establish a network of victim assistance centres (centros de asistencia a la víctima) in court buildings throughout the province (Clarín 15 Oct. 1999a; ibid. 15 Oct. 1999b; ibid. 20 Oct. 1999). With a mandate to provide assistance, legal advice and psychological support (asistir, brindar asesoramiento jurídico, apoyo psicológico) to crime victims (ibid. 15 Oct. 1999a), the centres employ a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and legal advisers (ibid. 20 Oct. 1999). According to a 20 October 1999 Clarín report, the majority of complaints made at such centres are related to domestic violence and conflicts among neighbours.

According to Clarín, the government of the Province of Buenos Aires has also established two centres that provide assistance to children, adolescents and women who are victims of domestic violence (15 May 1999). In a separate initiative, the Women's Directorate (Dirección General de la Mujer) of the City of Buenos Aires operates a 24-hour telephone hotline for women who have been victims of violence (Clarín 1 Mar. 2000; ECOSOC 10 Mar. 1999). On its Website, the SNIM provides information on a number of other services for victims of domestic violence in the City of Buenos Aires, including two homes for women with children who are victims of violence (hogares para mujeres con hijos víctimas de violencia), one refuge for battered women and their children (refugio para Mujeres Golpeados y sus Hijos), four women's centres operated by the Women's Directorate, a government agency, and at least nine hospitals with domestic violence units (1999b).

In a 30 March 2000 interview, the President of the Consejo Provincial de la Mujer (Provincial Women's Council, CPM), a Mendoza government agency, stated that a family violence law, broadly similar in content to the federal government's Law 24.417, has been ratified (sancionado) by Mendoza's legislature, but has not yet been implemented. However, the President also stated that the provincial government has established several family courts (tribunales de familia) in Mendoza (ibid.). According to the President, these courts have mediators on staff, and are adopting a holistic approach when dealing with issues like family violence (ibid.).

The President also stated that the government has established women's reception rooms in police stations throughout the province, where female victims can make complaints and receive specialized services (ibid.). However, in a 30 March 2000 interview, a representative of the Encuentro de Mujeres Mendoza (Meeting of Mendoza Women), a non-governmental organization based in Mendoza City, claimed that not all police stations in Mendoza are equipped with such rooms. According to the representative, the existence of women's reception rooms is to some extent dependent upon the attitude of individual police chiefs (30 Mar. 2000). However, the representative also noted that the government is in the process of reforming the police training system in the province, with greater emphasis placed on sensitization in the area of human rights (ibid.).

In 1997, the government of Mendoza, in cooperation with the federal government and Inter-American Development Bank, initiated the Programa Piloto de Prevención y Asistencia a la Violencia contra la Mujer (Pilot Prevention and Assistance Program for Violence against Women) in the townships (departamentos) of Maipu and Guaymallèn (UNDP n.d.; CPM 30 Mar. 2000). According to the President of the CPM, this program has led to the creation of a multi-sectoral, inter-disciplinary network to coordinate and manage the delivery of services to female victims of violence (ibid.).

 According to the representative of the Encuentro de Mujeres Mendoza, there are no women's shelters in the Province of Mendoza (30 Mar. 2000). This information was corroborated by the President of the CPM (30 Mar. 2000). However, the President indicated that a number of existing organizations, such as hospitals and religious institutions, are prepared to provide shelter to women and their children in cases where such services are needed (ibid.). The President further claimed that certain municipalities also provide assistance in particular instances when a woman is forced to leave the family home (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

Consejo Nacional de la Mujer (CNM). n.d. Ley No. 24.417 de Protección contra la Violencia Familiar, 28 December 1994. [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

Asociación Argentina de Prevención de la Violencia Familiar, Buenos Aires. 6 March 2000. Telephone interview with management committee board member.

Clarín [Buenos Aires]. 1 March 2000. Alba Piotto. "Capital: cada vez hay más mujeres golpeadas." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

_____. 20 October 1999. "Asistencia a las víctimas de delitos." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

_____. 15 October 1999a. Liliana Caruso. "Ya funciona la red de centros para ayudar a las víctimas." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

_____. 15 October 1999b. "Servicios." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

_____. 15 May 1999. "Plan de asistencia social 'al paso.'" [Accessed 29 Mar. 2000]

Consejo Nacional de la Mujer. 2000. "¿Qué es el Consejo Nacional de la Mujer?" [Accessed 4 Apr. 2000]

Consejo Provincial de la Mujer, Mendoza. 30 March 2000. Telephone interview with President.

El Día [La Plata]. 27 November 1999. Patricia Panzoni. "Un drama social que no admite más demoras." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer, Buenos Aires. 29 February 2000. Telephone interview with physician.

La Nación [Buenos Aires]. 12 June 1999. "Eslabones del círculo de la violencia. " [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

 Sistema Nacional de Información Mujer (SNIM). 1999a. "La legislación argentina y la Convención sobre la Eliminación de Todas las Formas de Discriminación contra la Mujer." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

_____. 1999b. "Instituciones relacionadas con la violencia familiar." [Accessed 6 Mar. 2000]

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). 10 March 1999. Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Submitted in Accordance With Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1995/85.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP). 1999. "Leyes nacionales: Argentina." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

_____. n.d. "National Campaigns: Argentina." [Accessed on 30 Mar. 2000]

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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