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Uruguay: The location of the Women's Police Stations (Comisarías de Defensa de la Mujer y la Familia) and protection, including restraining orders, available to female victims of domestic or sexual violence, specifically those cases where a police officer is the aggressor (October 2002)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 9 October 2002
Citation / Document Symbol URY39340.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Uruguay: The location of the Women's Police Stations (Comisarías de Defensa de la Mujer y la Familia) and protection, including restraining orders, available to female victims of domestic or sexual violence, specifically those cases where a police officer is the aggressor (October 2002) , 9 October 2002, URY39340.E , available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f7d4e320.html [accessed 24 November 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 a 7 October 2002 telephone interview, an officer with the public relations office at the Montevideo Police Headquarters (Jefatura de Policía de Montevideo) stated that there were only two Women's Police Stations (Comisarías de Defensa de la Mujer y la Familia) in the country: one in Montevideo at San José 1126 and one in Las Piedras, Canelones Department. The officer could not provide an address for the station in Las Piedras (ibid.). However, in a 2001 report, the National Institute of Women and the Family (Instituto Nacional de la Mujer y la Familia) states that the first Women's Police Station was established in Montevideo in 1988 and by 1998, there existed five others in five different departments (Comisión Nacional de Mujeres Uruguayanas 2001).

The M2 Presswire reports that the Women's Police Stations were established to investigate cases of violence against women and prosecute aggressors (25 Jan. 2002). Between January and October 2001, these Women's Police Stations had received 951 complaints of domestic violence (Isis Internacional 4 Sept. 2002). However, of the 596 cases brought before the judicial system, only 15 were processed during this time period (ibid.). With regards to Women's Police Stations, the Latin America and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM) report presented to the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women in July 2002 states the following:

[These stations function] in the police orbit since 1990, and as of 1992, the Office of Technical Assistance to the Victims of Family Violence is added. The Office of Technical Assistance and Treatment develops advising and follow-up commitments of individual cases. Vis-à-vis a maltreatment complaint, a diagnosis of the risk situation is performed, with an appointment with the aggressor and the execution, whenever it is possible, of a mediation work, before the judicial intervention. The Office maintains a level of attention close to 100 cases per month. It depends of the Montevideo Police Force's Safety Bureau. It has departmental coverage.

Please note that the information above is a translation from the original Spanish report and is based primarily on CLADEM's regional diagnosis published in the book Cuestion de Vida - (A Matter of Life) Regional Summary and Challenges on Women's Rights to a Violence-free Life in 2000.

The following information was provided by an inspector (Comisario Inspector) at the National Directorate of Crime Prevention (Dirección Nacional de Prevención del Delito), a division of Uruguay's Ministry of the Interior, on 4 October 2002.

The inspector stated that the process for victims of domestic or sexual violence to obtain recourse is the same regardless of whether the aggressor is a police officer or not. There are no special protection measures for female victims who have been abused by police officers. A new law on domestic violence which provides protection measures to victims came into effect in July 2002. Such protection measures include the removal of the aggressor from the household. In Uruguay, victims cannot ask for a formal written restraining order as in other countries, but when a complaint has been lodged with the Family Court (Juzgado de Familia de Torno), the competent authorities can intervene and notify the aggressor to keep away from the residence of the victim. The duration of the notification will depend on the particular case.

An 18 June 2002 Radio El Espectator report clarifies the different roles of the family courts and the criminal courts. The report states that the new law on domestic violence will shift the punishment of aggressors in domestic violence cases away from criminal courts onto family courts which, previously, were not able to sanction aggressors of domestic violence even though they were equipped to deploy immediate preventative measures (Radio El Espectator 18 June 2002). Before the domestic violence law was implemented the crime of domestic violence could only be prosecuted in the criminal court sytem (ibid.).

An administrator of the Assistance Centre for Victims of Family Violence (Centro de Asistencia a las Victimas de Violencia Familiar) of Montevideo corroborated in a   4 October 2002 telephone interview that no special protection measures existed for women abused by police officers. Since the promulgation of the law on domestic violence at the end of July 2002, the authorities are slowly beginning to apply this new legislation to cases of domestic violence (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. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Centro de Asistencia a las Victimas de Violencia Familiar, Montevideo, Uruguay.   4 October 2002. Telephone interview with an administrator.

Comisión Nacional de Mujeres Uruguayas de Seguimiento de los Compromisos de Beijing. 2001. Informe: Actuación del Instituto Nacional de la Mujer y la Familia. [Accessed 4 Oct. 2002]

Isis Internacional. 4 September 2002. "Mujeres Hoy: Violencia contra la Mujer: Uruguay." [Accessed 4 Oct. 2002]

Jefatura de Policía de Montevideo, Uruguay. 7 October 2002. Telephone interview with an officer.

Latin America and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM), July 2002. Report for the United Nations' Special Reporter on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Dr. Rhadika Coomaraswamy, in the Context of the Preparation of her Final Report to be Presented in the 59th Session Before the Human Rights Commission.     [Accessed 25 Sept. 2002]

M2 Presswire. 25 January 2002. "Committee Experts Castigate Slow Pace of Progress Towards Gender Equality in Uruguay - Part 1 of 2." (NEXIS)

Radio El Espectator [Montevideo, in Spanish]. 18 June 2002. "Diputadas exigen aprobar hoy la ley contra la violencia doméstica." [Accessed 8 Oct. 2002]

Uruguay. Dirección Nacional de Prevención del Delito, Montevideo. 4 October 2002. Telephone interview with an inspector.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

LEXIS/NEXIS

World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. 2002

Dirección Nacional de Prevención del Delito

Fempress [Santiago]. Search engine. 2000-2002

Mujeres en Red: Uruguay

Radio El Espectador. Search engine

Social Watch

UNIFEM

Search engines:

Alltheweb.com

Google

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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