Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April 2014, 11:39 GMT

Colombia: Domestic violence in Colombia; whether domestic violence is legal; state protection; internal flight alternative

Publisher Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Direction des recherches, Commission de l'immigration et du statut de réfugié, Canada
Publication Date 27 November 2000
Citation / Document Symbol COL35874.F
Reference 2
Cite as Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Colombia: Domestic violence in Colombia; whether domestic violence is legal; state protection; internal flight alternative, 27 November 2000, COL35874.F, available at: [accessed 24 April 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.

For general information on domestic violence in Colombia, a brief description of the 1996 Law on Family Violence and an assessment of the measures taken by the Colombian authorities, see COL31313.E of 5 March 1999.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999 does not indicate any change regarding domestic violence in Colombia from the previous year. For more information on this subject, please see Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999.

Law 294 of 1996 (Ley 294 de 1996 [...] para prevenir, remediar y sancionar la violencia intrafamiliar), which is discussed in COL31313.E, criminalizes acts of violence committed within families, including rape (Country Reports 1999 2000). Moreover, the law contains specific measures to ensure that victims of domestic violence are protected (Colombia 16 July 1996). In particular, the law provides that persons who are victims of domestic violence or who fear such violence can request protection from the competent authorities (ibid. subs. 3(d)). For example, a judge can order aggressors, in certain circumstances, to leave a dwelling that they share with the victim (ibid. subs. 5(a)). The judge can also order aggressors to undergo therapeutic treatment at their own expense in a public or private institution (ibid. subs. 5(b)). Moreover, the judge can order the aggressor to pay for the costs incurred by the victim as a result of the physical, psychological or psychiatric harm suffered (ibid. subs. 5(c)). If the violence is severe, or if the aggressor re-offends, the judge can order special police protection for the victim (ibid. subs. 5(d)). Furthermore, section 7 of the law also includes various provisions that apply in cases where the aggressor fails to comply with the protection measures ordered by the court (ibid. s. 7). Section 20 also specifies what police officers must do to assist victims of domestic violence (ibid. s. 20). Officers must, for example, accompany the victim to a safe place, give advice regarding the preservation of evidence, inform the victim of the available support services, etc. (ibid.). For more information about the Law on Family Violence in Colombia, see the full Spanish text of the law.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999 mentions the "Make Peace" program ("Haz Paz" in Spanish) that was set up in Colombia to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence (2000). More information on Haz Paz is available on the Website of Colombia's National Police (Colombia Apr.‑June 2000). The Website describes Haz Paz as a national policy implemented jointly by the government and the National Police (ibid.). Under this policy, police officers are required to prevent, detect and combat domestic violence through various activities (ibid.). The Research Directorate was unable to find, within the time constraints of this Response, an assessment of the Haz Paz policy.

According to the magazine Mujer/fempress, a Haz Paz hotline was set up to assist victims of domestic violence, the vast majority of whom are women (May 2000). The line is in operation 24 hours a day and is run by the La Casa program of the Universidad de Los Andes (ibid.).

The Research Directorate was unable to find, among the sources consulted within the time constraints of this Response, information on internal flight alternatives for victims of domestic violence.

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. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Colombia. April-June 2000. Policía Nacional. "La escuela nacional de policía comprometida con Haz Paz."
[Accessed 23 Nov. 2000]

_____. 16 July 1996. Ley 294 de 1996 par la cual se desarrolla el artículo 42 de la Constitución política y se dictan normas para prevenir, remediar y sancionar la violencia. [Accessed 13 Nov. 2000]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999. 2000. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. colombia.html> [Accessed 23 Nov. 2000]

Mujer/fempress [Santiago, Chile]. May 2000. No. 222. "Línea telefónica contra el maltrato." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

One source did not respond to an information request.

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Comisión Andina de Juristas

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Derechos Humanos

El Espectador

Human Rights Watch

Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos

International Federation of Human Rights

International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW)

Search engines including:



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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