Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September 2014, 08:34 GMT

Argentina: Women victims of domestic violence; state protection and resources available to victims (2005-2007)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 17 January 2008
Citation / Document Symbol ARG102689.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Argentina: Women victims of domestic violence; state protection and resources available to victims (2005-2007), 17 January 2008, ARG102689.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47ce6d7ca.html [accessed 17 September 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.

Prevalence

Citing a survey published by the National Women's Council (Consejo Nacional de la Mujer, CNM), an article in the online newspaper Minuto Uno indicates that one in three Argentinean women suffers from physical, psychological, sexual or economic abuse in her home, although the President of the CNM, Pimpi Colombo, stated that in reality the proportion could be higher (20 Feb. 2007). Agence France-Presse (AFP) cites a report by the Argentinean-based non-governmental organization (NGO) Red Solidaria, which links volunteers and persons in need (Red Solidaria n.d.), indicating that every year more than 100 Argentinean women are killed by their partners (AFP 4 Mar. 2007). According to Alliance for Your Rights (Alianza por tus Derechos), a Costa Rica-based NGO that promotes human rights, especially for youth (Alianza por tus Derechos n.d.), 60 percent of Argentinean women who live in urban centres are either victims of domestic violence themselves or know someone who is (Alianza por tus Derechos 7 May 2007). Red Solidaria reports that one in five couples experiences some type of violence but only one in ten victims of domestic violence reports it to the police (24 Sept. 2007).

Argentinian medias sources from 2007 reported government statistics related to domestic violence as follows:

In the province of Buenos Aires, some 70 percent of 911 calls, which number between 9,000 and 11,000 calls per month, are related to gender violence (La Nación 3 Dec. 2007; El Siglo 29 Sept. 2007). The Province of Buenos Aires is the largest and most populous province of Argentina, but does not include the city of Buenos Aires, which is autonomous (Argentina Excepcion n.d.).

During the first nine months of 2007, there was a 57 percent rise in domestic violence complaints over the same period in 2006, and 28 percent of complaints included reports of physical violence while 21 percent involved reports of threats of violence (Clarín 24 Nov. 2007).

Between 1995 and 2006, domestic violence complaints rose 120 percent in the city of Buenos Aires (Clarín 1 Oct. 2007).

Because of a rise in domestic violence complaints in the Province of Buenos Aires, calls to 911 by victims who do not require an immediate police response were to be diverted to a special gender violence line starting in September 2007 (Clarín 2 July 2007). However, information on the subsequent implementation of this special line could not be found among the sources consulted.

Some experts reportedly attribute rising numbers of domestic violence complaints to, among others things, the increased effectiveness of awareness campaigns (Clarín 24 Nov. 2007; La Nación 3 Dec. 2007). Part of the rise may also be explained by the fact that in 2007, psychological violence became grounds under which a victim could file a complaint, although it remained a non-criminal offence (Clarín 24 Nov. 2007).

According to official statistics cited by AFP, the majority of women who are victims of domestic violence make a formal complaint within the first five years of abuse (AFP 4 Mar. 2007).

According to the Buenos Aires daily Clarín, the Gender Policy Office (Dirección General de Políticas de Género) of the Province of Buenos Aires reported that 70 percent of female domestic violence victims who lodge a complaint at special police stations for women and families (Comisarías de la Mujer y la Familia) are from a middle- or upper-class background, leading experts to presume that these women have more resources at their disposal to leave their abusive partners after they have reported them to the police (Clarín 11 Oct. 2005).

Legislation and judiciary

Argentina became party to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1985 (UN n.d). Although Argentina has legislation that specifically targets domestic violence, survey results published in October 2006 by the NGO Latin-American Justice and Gender Team (Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género, ELA) indicated that only 40 percent of female respondents in large cities were familiar with any domestic violence legislation, and only 24 percent still could name any specific protection measures envisioned by the law (ELA n.d.). Law 24417 of December 1994 on Protection from Domestic Violence (Ley 24417 e Protección contra la Violencia Familiar) allows a judge to evict an abusive spouse from the family home (Argentina Dec. 1994, Art. 4a). The Law also obligates social workers, public and private educators, healthcare professionals and public servants to report cases of domestic violence involving minors, the elderly or the incapacitated (Argentina Dec. 1994, Art. 2).

Law 24417 gives a judge the authority to recommend treatment to both victim and aggressor but does not provide for forced treatment (Argentina Dec. 1994, Art. 5). Between 1997 and 2005, some 600 men in the city of Buenos Aires attended a rehabilitation treatment program for physically abusive partners, which is part of the Prevention and Assistance Program for Domestic Violence (Programa de Prevención y Asistencia a la Violencia Familiar) of the Office for Women's Affairs (Dirección General de la Mujer) of the Buenos Aires city government (Clarín 29 Dec. 2005). A majority of participants were sent to the program by a public body (such as the judiciary, the police or a hospital); however, approximately half of all participants dropped out before the end of the program (Clarín 29 Dec. 2005).

Law 24417 coexists with several provincial domestic violence laws, most of which were adopted in the 1990s (Artemisa 21 Nov. 2006). The website of the Argentinean Association for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (Asociación Argentina de Prevención de la Violencia Familiar, AAPVF), a Buenos Aires-based NGO that assists women victims of domestic violence (AAPVF n.d.a), lists provincial domestic violence legislation in every province except for Córdoba and Tucumán (AAPVF n.d.b).

The maximum penalties that can be imposed by the Penal Code of Argentina are life imprisonment for the murder of a spouse and fifteen years' imprisonment for causing injury (Argentina 3 Nov. 1921, Arts. 80, 92).

State protection

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia) announced it was opening a Domestic Violence Bureau (Oficina de Violencia Doméstica, OVD) to provide legal, psychological, medical and social services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to victims of domestic violence (Diario Judicial 31 May 2007; La Nación 20 Aug. 2007).

In the city of Buenos Aires, the Victims Against Violence Program (Programa de Víctimas contra las Violencias) has Mobile Domestic Violence Units (Brigada Móvil de Violencia Familiar) (La Nación 2 May 2007). In October 2006, the units began to respond to calls to 911 or to police stations (ibid.). Since March 2007 (ibid.), victims or concerned neighbours can also call a dedicated line, 137, and speak with an attendant, who can in turn dispatch a mobile unit consisting of two police officers, one psychologist and one social worker to the scene (ibid.; El Siglo 29 Sept. 2007).

In 2005, there were 14 police stations dedicated specifically to women (Comisarías de la Mujer) in the Province of Buenos Aires, all in greater Buenos Aires except for one located in Mar del Plata (Clarín 24 Dec. 2005). At the time, some of these police stations received up to 500 domestic violence complaints per month (Clarín 24 Dec. 2005). By September 2007, there were 24 such police stations (Clarín 24 Nov. 2007; La Nación 21 Nov. 2007), and they received 18,498 complaints of domestic violence in the first six months of 2007 (El Siglo 29 Sept. 2007), compared with 26,631 complaints in all of 2006 (La Nación 21 Nov. 2007; DyN 19 June 2007).

According to Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2006, there were few shelters available to victims of domestic violence in Argentina besides a "small" one operated by the Buenos Aires city government (US 6 Mar. 2007, Sec. 5).

The website Mujeres Hoy contains a list of five reception centres for victims of domestic violence, including three in Buenos Aires, one in Jujuy and one in Reconquista (Mujeres Hoy n.d.). The website of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos) contains links to institutions that can provide assistance to victims of domestic violence in city and province of Buenos Aires, as well as throughout Argentina (Argentina n.d.).

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 additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Agence France-Presse (AFP). 4 March 2007. "Una mujer es asesinada cada dos días en Argentina, afirma estudio de ONG." (Factiva)

Alianza por tus Derechos [Buenos Aires]. N.d. "Argentina: Promueven una ley por el aumento de casos de violencia familiar." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]
_____. N.d. "Quiénes Somos [Accessed 10 Dec. 2007]

Argentina. December 1994. Ley 24417 de Protección contra la Violencia Familiar. (Instituto Social y Político de la Mujer) [Accessed 10 Dec. 2007]
_____. 3 November 1921. Ministerio de la Economía. Centro de Documentación e Información del Ministerio de Economía. Código Penal de la Nación Argentina, Ley 11.179 (T.0. 1984 actualizado). [Accessed 10 Dec. 2007]
_____. N.d. Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos de la Nación Argentina. Dirección Nacional de Política Criminal. "Recursos para la prevención y/o asistencia de la violencia familiar." [Accessed 10 Dec. 2007]

Argentina Excepción. N.d. "Info – Buenos Aires Province, Argentina." [Accessed 14 Jan. 2008]

Artemisa. 21 November 2006. "Día de la No Violencia: Panorama de la legislación nacional." [Accessed 10 Dec. 2007]

Asociación Argentina de Prevención de la Violencia Familiar (AAPVF) [Buenos Aires]. N.d.a. "Actividades Principales." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]
_____. N.d.b. "Legislación." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]

Clarín [Buenos Aires]. 24 November 2007. Pilar Ferreyra. "Crecieron un 57 por ciento las denuncias por violencia familiar." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]
_____. 1 October 2007. Pilar Ferreyra. "En doce años se duplicaron las denuncias por violencia familiar." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]
_____. 2 July 2007. Guillermo Villarreal. "Nuevo servicio para mujeres víctimas de violencia familiar." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]
_____. 29 December 2005. Georgina Elustondo. "Experiencia en la Ciudad de Buenos Aires; Más de 600 hombres violentos hicieron rehabilitación grupal." (Factiva)
_____. 24 December 2005. Liliana Caruso. "Hay 14 seccionales en la Provincia de Buenos Aires; Comisarías de la Mujer: Historias de ataques íntimos." (Factiva)
_____. 11 October 2005. Georgina Elustondo. "Un drama de todos los sectores sociales; Violencia familiar: las mujeres de clase media y alta denuncian más." (Factiva)

Diario Judicial [Buenos Aires]. 31 May 2007. "La Oficina de Violencia Doméstica ya es una realidad." [Accessed 10 Dec. 2007]

Diarios y Noticias (DyN) [Buenos Aires]. 19 June 2007. "Capacitan a operadores de emergencia para asistir a mujeres y niños víctimas de violencia familiar." (Factiva)

Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género (ELA) [Buenos Aires]. N.d. "Violencia Familiar." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]

Minuto Uno [Buenos Aires]. 20 February 2007. "La violencia familiar alcanza a 1 de cada 3 mujeres en Argentina." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]

Mujeres Hoy. N.d. "Casas de Acogida." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]

La Nación [Buenos Aires]. 3 December 2007. "Violencia familiar: mostrar lo oculto." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]
_____. 21 November 2007. "Preocupan las cifras de violencia doméstica." (Factiva)
_____. 20 August 2007. "Violencia familiar: un mal denigrante." (Factiva)
_____. 2 May 2007. Cynthia Palacios. "Dos proyectos y un teléfono para poner fin a la violencia." (Factiva)

Red Solidaria [Buenos Aires]. 24 September 2007. "Conmoción por la muerte de dos mujeres." [Accessed 10 Dec. 2007]
_____. N.d. "About Red Solidaria." [Accessed 10 Dec. 2007]

El Siglo [San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina]. 29 September 2007. "Las mujeres, el mayor blanco de la violencia familiar." [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]

United Nations (UN). N.d. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). "StatesParties." [Accessed 11 January 2008]

United States (US). 6 March 2007. Department of State. "Argentina." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2006. [Accessed 5 Dec. 2007]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), BBC Mundo, Consejo Nacional de la Mujer (CNM), Courrier international, European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net), Inter-American Commission of Women, Isis International, Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM), Peacewomen.org, Les Pénélopes, Red Informativa de Mujeres de Argentina (RIMAweb).

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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