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Mexico: Implementation of the General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence (Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia) in the state of Sonora; protection and resources available to women victims of domestic violence; available safeguards when a parent fears that the other parent will flee with their child (2007 - August 2010)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 15 October 2011
Citation / Document Symbol MEX103576.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Mexico: Implementation of the General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence (Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia) in the state of Sonora; protection and resources available to women victims of domestic violence; available safeguards when a parent fears that the other parent will flee with their child (2007 - August 2010), 15 October 2011, MEX103576.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e8983b52.html [accessed 22 July 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.

In January 2009, Amnesty International (AI) assessed the effectiveness of the General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence (Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia) and concluded that the "law has had no impact in the majority of Mexico's 32 states." AI also notes that women's organizations in several Mexican states, including Sonora, "have emphasised the high level of violence against women and the administration's lack of effectiveness in preventing and punishing it" (AI Jan. 2009). A main problem, according to AI, is that numerous states lack "main requirements" of the law, such as "the obligation to establish implementation mechanisms" or the development of strategies for the prevention of violence against women (ibid.).

According to two news sources, in the state of Sonora approximately 40 percent of women are victims of domestic violence (ESTO 4 Sept. 2007; Azteca Sonora 6 Sept. 2010). ESTO, an online news magazine published by Mexican multimedia organization Organización Editorial Mexicana (OEM), reports that, in Sonora, from January to July 2007, there were 772 documented cases of family violence (violencia intrafamiliar) directed against women and girls (ESTO 4 Sept. 2007). The news magazine argues that although this number is lower than in 2006, when there were 1,558 registered female victims for the same period, it is still cause for concern since many women do not report their abuse (ibid.).

The National Women's Institute (Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, INMUJERES) indicates that the state of Sonora published the Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence for the State of Sonora (Ley de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia para el Estado de Sonora) on 29 October 2007 (Mexico 25 Mar. 2010). However, according to the Women's Communication and Information (Comunicación e Información de la Mujer, CIMAC) online news (noticias) agency, the regulation needed to place the law into effect should have been created within 90 days of the law being passed, but that it did not happen (CIMAC Noticias 25 Mar. 2009). INMUJERES notes that on 25 March 2010 this had still not occurred, although a State System for Prevention, Intervention, Sanction and Erradication of Violence (Sistema Estatal de Prevención, Atención, Sanción y Erradicación de la Violencia) has been created (Mexico 25 Mar. 2010) to coordinate implementation of the General Law among key government bodies, such as INMUJERES, the Ministry of Health (Secretaría de Salud) and the Ministry of Social Development (Secretaría de Desarrollo Social) (Mexico 23 Mar. 2010, 37).

In a comparison of the General Law for Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence to state versions, the Centre for Studies for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality (Centro de Estudios para el Adelanto de las Mujeres y la Equidad de Género, CEAMEG), of the Chamber of Deputies (Camara de Diputados) of Mexico, notes that the Sonora law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence does not:

  • specify actions that should be taken to attend to a victim of family violence (Mexico 23 Mar. 2010, 48);
  • define or provide actions to prevent family violence (ibid., 54); or
  • include all three types of protection orders offered in the General Law (ibid., 55).

According to CEAMEG, the Sonora law excludes the civil protection order (orden de Protección de Naturaleza Civil) (ibid., 55) that authorizes the following measures [translation by the Multilingual Translation Division of the Translation Bureau]:

  1. Temporary suspension of the aggressor from visiting and living with his or her descendants;
  2. Prohibition of the aggressor from disposing of or mortgaging property belonging to him or her in the case of the marital home; and in any case involving marital assets;
  3. Exclusive possession by the victim of the property that served as a residence;
  4. Preventive seizure of property of aggressors, which must be registered on a temporary basis in the Public Registry of Property to ensure fulfillment of maintenance obligations, and
  5. Temporary and immediate maintenance obligation.

Such orders shall be applied for before family courts, or in the absence of the latter, before the corresponding civil courts. (Mexico 2007, Art. 32)

The Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence for the State of Sonora provides the following forms of legal protection to victims of family violence [translation by the Multilingual Translation Division of the Translation Bureau]:

ARTICLE 35.- The protection orders set out in this law are strictly personal and non-transferable and may be:

  1. Emergency or
  2. Preventive.

Emergency and preventive protection orders shall apply for no more than 96 hours and must be issued by the public prosecutor's office, if applicable, within 12 hours after it is made aware of events involving violence against women.

ARTICLE 36.- The following are emergency protection orders:

...

  1. Prohibition of the alleged perpetrator from coming within a distance determined by the public prosecutor's office or, if applicable, the competent jurisdictional authority, of the home, place of work, place of study, or any other location frequented by the victim, or the home of ascendants or descendents; …
  1. Prohibition against intimidating or bothering victims or any member of their families within their social environment; …

ARTICLE 37.- The following are preventive protection orders:

…

  1. Immediate-response police assistance in favour of the victim, with specific authorization to enter the premises at which the victim is located when he or she requests assistance. (Sonora 2007).

Information on the implementation of the law could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Measures to combat domestic violence, including police effectiveness

The Penal Code of the State of Sonora (Código Penal del Estado de Sonora) includes domestic violence (violence within a couple) as part of family violence (translated as "domestic violence" in the excerpt below), and states the following penalties for the crime [translation by the Multilingual Translation Division of the Translation Bureau]:

ARTICLE 234-A.- Domestic violence is defined as any act of power or deliberate omission intended to dominate; force the submission of; control; or physically, verbally, emotionally or sexually assault any member of one's family or his or her property, which act could cause physical, verbal, psychological or sexual abuse or damage to property, under the terms of the Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Domestic Violence.

The offence of domestic violence is committed by a spouse, former spouse, live-in partner, blood relative in straight ascending or descending line, without limitation as to degree, collateral blood relative or similar up to the fourth degree, adoptive parent or adoptee, or guardian who carries out any of the acts described in the preceding paragraph.

A sentence of six months to six years in prison and suspension of the right to maintenance shall be imposed on whomsoever commits the offence of domestic violence.

In any case, the perpetrator must submit to specialized psychological treatment as a means of becoming rehabilitated (Sonora n.d., Art. 234-A).

ARTICLE 234-B.- Whomsoever carries out any of the acts referred to in the previous article against a person with whom he or she is in a common-law relationship, or that person's relatives by consanguinity or affinity up to the fourth degree from that person, or any other person who is under the custody, guardianship, protection, education, instruction or care of such person, shall be deemed to commit domestic violence and punished with six months to six years in prison (ibid., Art.234-B).

A joint report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Computer Science (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática, INEGI) notes that the state of Sonora does not have a penalty for rape when the couple is married (INEGI and UNIFEM Nov. 2007, 39).

Information on police training and effectiveness concerning the Law of Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence in the State of Sonora could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Safeguards when a parent fears the other parent will flee with their child

In 23 September 2010 correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Attorney General's Office for the Defence of Minors and the Family (Procuraduría de la Defensa del Menor y la Familia) provided a document which states that the legal mechanisms in Sonora that support the recovery of a child who has been abducted by the other parent include legal enforcement of the custody agreements, precautionary measures or, if the kidnapping is covered by it, the Penal Code of Sonora (Sonora 8 Sept. 2010).

Availability of shelters

According to the Sonoran Women's Institute (Instituto Sonorense de la Mujer, ISM), the following municipalities in Sonora have regional centres for women that are victims of violence: Nogales, Navojoa, Caborca, y San Luis Río Colorado (Sonora 28 Sept. 2009). These centres aim at preventing family violence and providing psychological and legal help to victims that ask for it (ibid.). ISM assisted in the creation of three government-run shelters for women and children in violent situations during 2008 and 2009: La Hacienda Esperanza IAP, Casa Nueva Vida, and "'Dignifícate'" (ibid. 5 Apr. 2010). In 10 September 2010 correspondence, an ISM representative informed the Research Directorate that there are two government-operated women's shelters in Sonora: Hacienda La Esperanza, I.A.P., in Hermosillo; and Casa Dignificante, in San Luis Río Colorado (Sonora 10 Sept. 2010).

The National Network of Shelters (Red Nacional de Refugios), which comprises 72 shelters in 30 Mexican states (Red Nacional de Refugios n.d.a), does not identify any government organizations that are currently working in Sonora with the Network (ibid. n.d.b), but does list one organization that is associated with them: "'La esperanza IAP,'" in Hermosillo (ibid. n.d.b).

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 for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Amnesty International (AI). 29 January 2009. "Mexico: Two Years On: The Law to Protect Women Has Had No Impact at State Level." [Accessed 13 Sept. 2010]

Azteca Sonora. 6 September 2010. Dulce María Villa Celaya. "Sufren de violencia 40% de mujeres en Sonora." <&lt;http://www.aztecasonora.com/w/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2314:sufren-de-violencia-40-de-mujeres-en-sonora&catid=58:sonora-centro&Itemid=75> [Accessed 20 Sept. 2010]

CIMAC Noticias. 25 March 2009. Silvia Núñez Esquer. "Sonora: sin reglamento Ley de Acceso a Vida Libre de Violencia." [Accessed 13 Sept. 2010]

ESTO. 4 September 2007. Oralia Acosta G. and Cambio Sonora. "Sufren de violencia intrafamiliar 68% de sonorenses." [Accessed 13 Sept. 2010]

Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (INEGI) and United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). November 2007. Patricia Olamendi Torres. Delitos contra las mujeres: Análisis de la Clasificación Mexicana de Delitos. [Accessed 13 Sept. 2010]

Mexico. 25 March 2010. Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (INMUJERES). "Leyes de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia." [Accessed 20 Sept. 2010]

_____. 23 March 2010. Centro de Estudios para el Adelanto de las Mujeres y la Equidad de Género (CEAMEG). Estudio Comparativo de la Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia con las Leyes Estatales en Materia de Acceso a una Vida Libre de Violencia. [Accessed 16 Sept. 2010]

_____. 2007 (Amended 2009). Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia. [Accessed 23 Sept. 2010]

Red Nacional de Refugios. N.d.a. "Organizaciones Asociadas." <&lt;http://www.rednacionalderefugios.org.mx/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=57> [Accessed 13 Sept. 2010]

_____. N.d.b. "Organizaciones Gubernamentales." <&lt;http://www.rednacionalderefugios.org.mx/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53&Itemid=58> [Accessed 13 Sept. 2010]

Sonora. 10 September 2010. Correspondence with the Instituto Sonorense de la Mujer (ISM).

_____. 8 September 2010. Solicitud de Información Pública (Folio No.100908E0006). (Response to information request provided on 23 September 2010 by the Titular de la Unidad de Enlace DIF Sonora, of the Procuraduría de la Defensa del Menor y la Familia.)

_____. 5 April 2010. Instituto Sonorense de la Mujer (ISM). Respuesta a solicitud de acceso a la información pública No. 100317E0009. [Accessed 20 Sept. 2010]

_____. 28 September 2009. Instituto Sonorense de la Mujer (ISM). Respuesta a solicitud de acceso a la información pública No. 090907P0005. [Accessed 20 Sept. 2010]

_____. 2007. Ley de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia para el Estado de Sonora. [Accessed 23 Sept. 2010]

_____. N.d. Código Penal del Estado de Sonora. [Accessed 23 Sept. 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Representatives from the Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos de Sonora (CEDH Sonora), Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (DIF-Sonora), and the Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Sonora did not provide the required information within the time constraints of this Response.

Internet sources, including: Gobierno del Estado de Sonora, Instituto Nacional de Desarrollo Social (Indesol), Poder Judicial del Estado de Sonora, Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Sonora, Red Nosotras Ciudadanas por la No Violencia Contra las Mujeres, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General's Database on Violence Against Women.

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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