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Peru: Update to PER29752.E of 7 July 1998 on shelters and support groups for battered women; police response to complaints of domestic violence; new legal measures to prevent and punish domestic violence

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 4 February 2000
Citation / Document Symbol PER33717.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Peru: Update to PER29752.E of 7 July 1998 on shelters and support groups for battered women; police response to complaints of domestic violence; new legal measures to prevent and punish domestic violence, 4 February 2000, PER33717.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad7370.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.

The United Nations Commission for Human Rights' (UNCHR) Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women provides following information on support mechanisms for victims of domestic violence in Peru:

The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that provisions for support mechanisms for women were incorporated in the 1997 amendments to the criminal law, including: the recognition of psychological maltreatment as a form of violence in the family; the giving of free medico-legal certificates for victims of violence in the family; the power of state counsel to intervene in family cases and dictate special provisions of protection for victims; and, for victims, the ability to decide not to attend conciliation sessions (10 Mar. 1999).

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Website provides a list of support groups in the non-government sector that lend assistance to female victims of violence (1999). They include the following groups or institutions: Centre for Peruvian Women "Flora Tristán," Institute of Local Development (Junín); Institute of Support to the Independent Movement of Rural Women; DEMUS: Study of the Defence of Women's Human Rights; Manuela Ramos Movement, Provincial Federation of Women of ICA, Association of Women Rural Workers of Huancabamba; Federation of Rural Women of Anta; Association for the Promotion and Defence of Women; Centre for the Promotion of Women; Co-ordinator of the Work of Women; Federation of Clubs of the Mothers of Ayacucho; and the Discussion Groups on Population, Women and Family (UNDP 1999). Some of the specific services they offer are "consulting and legal advice, medical specialities, psychological counselling, social work, economic support, support groups, spiritual support, community defence service, hot lines [and] training" (ibid.). Services offered by the government include Violence Against Women sections in the First Delegation of Lima, plus 12 other specialized sections throughout Lima; offices providing information on the judicial system and law in Lima and Callao; a telephone line for legal assistance; 14 Centres of Conciliation in Lima, 2 centres in other Peruvian provinces, plus 5 privates centres in Lima and 2 in other provinces; the Public Ministry's Provincial Public Prosecutors for the Family and Public Prosecutors specializing in domestic violence (ibid.).

The Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Human Development (Ministerio de Promoción de la Mujer y del Desarrollo Humano, PROMUDEH) has set up an emergency phone line specifically to receive complaints from women who are victims of sexual violence (PROMUDEH 1999; El Comercio 20 July 1999). On its Website, PROMUDEH states that the phone line, called Ayuda Amiga (Help Friend), provides emotional, as well as legal support for victims of violence (1999). It acts as an orientation centre by putting the victim in touch with the relevant authorities, be they legal services, psychologists, health officials, ombudsman's offices, police stations or social services, depending on the needs of the victim (PROMUDEH 1999).

In March 1999, the Minister of PROMUDEH, Luisa Maria Cuculiza, stated that "women's shelters would be created in Lima and other cities in Peru, similar to those set up by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide refuge for battered women" (IPS 8 Mar. 1999). IPS reported in November 1999 that emergency centres for battered women had been set up by PROMUDEH and offered "police attention, medical treatment, a reconciliation office, legal and health consultancy and psychological counselling" (IPS 10 Nov. 1999). Women who present themselves at these emergency centres are met by female volunteers, often from their own neighbourhoods, who guide them in solving their problems (ibid.).

The Ombudsman's Specialized Office on Women's Rights (Defensoría Especializada en Derechos de la Mujer) has the following main activities:

Brings charges in cases of discrimination and violence against women; Contributes in a significant way to the analysis and processing of information on concrete charges; Helps to strengthen legal instruments that improve the quality of life of women and their access to public-sector and private services provided by the society (CEPAL 1999).

With reference to police response to complaints of domestic violence, IPS reported in March 1999 that while police officers would "scoff" at women who made domestic violence complaints in the past, attitudes have changed in the 1990s since police stations introduced specialized domestic violence divisions and began to punish the aggressors (8 Mar. 1999).

El Comercio reported in July 1999 that the Apolo police station in El Victoria, a district of Lima, had resolved 80 per cent of the 500 cases of violence against women it had investigated (20 July 1999). The director of the Apolo police station, Major Rodolfo Villavicencio, stated in the report, however, that these cases had only been temporarily resolved and that the reoccurrence of violence was still possible (ibid.).

In another El Comercio report, Major Eduardo Calderón, director of a women's police station (Comisaría de Mujeres), stated that while most women feel comforted by going to the station to make a complaint of violence, some are frustrated by the fact that aggressors are always freed and by the perception that police officers are not doing anything to punish them (18 Aug. 1999). However, the women's police stations not only has police staff, but also has psychologists on hand, as well as access to lawyers who do not charge for very serious cases (El Comercio 18 Aug. 1999). Furthermore, in cases where battered women want to flee their homes, the women's police stations can place them in shelters (ibid.). All police stations, be they regular ones or women's, are obligated to receive domestic violence complaints by women and men (ibid.).

With regards to new legal measures to prevent and punish sexual violence in Peru, Fempress in its July 1999 issue stated that the Law on Public Action in Cases of Rape Offence (Ley de Acción Pública en el caso del delito de violación) was approved by the Peruvian Congress in April 1999 and promulgated in July 1999. The Law is considered the most favourable to the status of women in the last few years in Peru (Fempress July 1999). This legislative change will consider rape to be a public offence (delitos de acción pública) and like all other crimes, the State and the Public Ministry will be responsible for bringing the cases to trial (ibid.). Most rape offences had previously gone unpunished because they were not considered a public offence and furthermore, victims would have to make the complaints themselves and be obliged at times to marry their rapists (ibid.). The Law also protects the privacy and the identity of the victim at all stages of the judicial process, and requires her consent for any forensic testing to be carried out (ibid.).

Please consult PER33587.E of 14 January 2000 for information on the effectiveness and implementation of the Law on Family 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.

References

El Comercio [Lima]. 18 August 1999. "La Comisaría de Mujeres ve los frutos de su trabajo." [Accessed on 11 Jan. 2000]

_____. 20 July 1999. "Maltrato a mujeres aumenta de manera preocupante en Lima." [Accessed on 11 Jan. 2000]

Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL). 1999. Directorio de Organismos Nacionales A Cargo de las Políticas y Programas para las Mujeres de América Latina y el Caribe. [Accessed on 3 Feb. 2000]

Fempress [Santiago]. July 1999. No. 212. Mariella Sala. "La Violación No Será Más un Asunto Privado." [Accessed on 3 Feb. 2000]

Inter Press Service (IPS). 10 November 1999. Abraham Lama. "Rights-Peru: Abused Women Speaking Out." (NEXIS)

_____. 8 March 1999. Abraham Lama. "Women-Peru: Gaining Ground in Politics and on the Home Front." (NEXIS)

Ministerio de Promoción de la Mujer y del Desarrollo Humano (PROMUDEH). 1999. "Linea de Emergencia Contra la Violencia Familiar "Ayuda Amiga." [Accessed on 3 Feb. 2000]

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 1999. "Peru." [Accessed on 2 Feb. 2000]

United Nations Commission for Human Rights' (UNCHR). 10 March 1999. Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences. (E/CN.4/1999/68) [Acessed 3 Feb. 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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