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Chile: Update on application of Domestic Violence Law

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 February 1999
Citation / Document Symbol CHL31253.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Chile: Update on application of Domestic Violence Law, 1 February 1999, CHL31253.E, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
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.


The information that follows was provided in an 18 December 1998 letter to the Research Directorate from the National Coordinator of the Intra-family Violence Prevention Program, of the National Women's  Service of Chile (SERNAM).

The attached document provides statistics on reports of domestic violence presented before the police nationwide in 1995, 1996, 1997 and the first semester of 1998. The numbers are presented in a set of tables that provide the totals by month and year for women (mujeres), men (hombres), children (niños) and the elderly (ancianos). The fifth table provides the number of domestic violence processes opened during the first semester of 1998, by month and by reported victim ("VIF").

The Carabineros police force, as well as the Policía de Investigaciones and the courts, are required by Law 19325 to process all reports of domestic violence, although the Carabineros force is usually the institution that carries out this task.

As Law 19325 refers to behaviours that do not constitute a penal offence (crimen o delito), cases that fall under this law are handled by civil courts (tribunales civiles). Criminal behaviour (such as minor injuries, serious injuries, violation of residence, threats of violence, parricide, etc.) are regulated in the Penal Code and are handled by criminal courts (tribunales criminales). There are no statistics for cases of domestic violence that are handled by criminal courts, since these tabulate cases by proscribed offence, without a statistical record of the relationship between victim and offender.

Cases of domestic violence under Law 19325 and opened before civil courts totalled 38,200 in 1995, and 57,939 in 1996. More than 52,729 such cases corresponding to urban centres were opened in 1997, as were 8,286 corresponding to rural areas, for a total of at least 61,015. Statistics for 1998 have not been fully processed at this time.

Both the conviction and absolution rates for those appearing in civil courts are very low (bajísimo porcentaje), because frequently the processes are ended through conciliation of the parties involved. When there is a conviction, the majority of sentences impose attendance in therapeutic programs for up to six months. Other sanctions, such as prison or fines and community work are very rarely imposed (son de muy baja aplicación) by the civil courts.

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.


Coordinadora Nacional del Programa de Prevención de Violencia Intrafamiliar, SERNAM, Santiago. 18 December 1998. Letter received by the Research Directorate.


Coordinadora Nacional del Programa de Prevención de Violencia Intrafamiliar, SERNAM, Santiago. 18 December 1998. Statistical table received by the Research Directorate.

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 Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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