IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Autor)
The following information adds to that already found in VEN33945.E of 29 December 1999 on domestic violence, including legal recourse and protection measures available to victims.
A lawyer at the Centre for Social Research, Training and Studies (Centro de Investigación Social, Formación y Estudios, CISFEM) in Caracas provided the following information in a 28 February 2000 telephone interview. CISFEM is one of the leading non-governmental organizations in Venezuela working on domestic violence issues. The organization offers a variety of services, including legal assistance to female victims of violence.
Authorities in Venezuela can only respond to a victim of domestic violence or potential domestic violence if she lodges a formal complaint at any of the following offices: prefectures and police headquarters (Prefecturas y Jefaturas Civiles), the Judicial Police (Policía Judicial, PJ), Justices of the First Penal Instances (Juzgados de Primera Instancia en lo Penal), the Attorney General's Office of the Public Ministry, the various tribunals and other agencies (please see VEN33945.E for a complete list of agencies).
Depending on the circumstances and evidence of the woman's case, the authorities could summon (citar) the perpetrator of domestic violence, in this case, the woman's father, and both parties could sign a warning document (caución de buena conducta) which would protect the victim of future abuse by the aggressor. In cases where the aggressor violates the provisions set out in the warning, the victim can return to the agency where she first lodged her complaint and either begin penal proceedings against the aggressor or receive a precautionary measure (medida cautelar). Citing the Law on Violence Against Women and the Family (Ley sobre la violencia contra la mujer y la familia), enacted in January 1999, the lawyer stated that under Article 39, the various precautionary measures that the receiver (receptor) of the complaint can carry out are outlined. They include, but are not limited to the following: the detention of the aggressor for a period of up to 72 hours in a police station (punto 3: arresto transitorio hasta por setenta y dos (72) horas, que se cumplirá en la Jefatura Civil respectiva); the prohibition of the aggressor to approach the area of work or study of the victim (punto 5: prohibir el acercamiento del agresor al lugar de trabajo o estudio de la víctima); and any other measure advisable for the personal, physical or emotional protection of the victim, the family or the couple (punto 9: cualquier otra medida aconsejable para la protección personal; fisica o emocional de la víctima, del grupo familiar o de la pareja) (IIN 1999). Under point 9 of Article 39, the lawyer stated that, if deemed necessary for the protection of the victim, the authorities could order that the Peruvian father not be allowed to enter Venezuela. This could be carried out, but only in very serious situations when all other measures have been exhausted.
With regards to police response to incidents of domestic violence, Country Reports for 1999 states that: "according to local monitors, the police generally are unwilling to intervene to prevent domestic violence, and the courts rarely prosecute those accused of such abuse" (Feb. 2000).
Additional and/or corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. Attempts to obtain additional information were unsuccessful within the time constraints of this Response.
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.
Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices for 1999. February 2000. United States Department of
State. Washington, DC. http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/1999_hrp_report/venezuel.html
[Accessed on 28 Feb. 2000]
Centro de Investigación Social,
Formación y Estudios (CISFEM), Caracas. 28 February 2000.
Telephone interview with a lawyer.
Instituto Interamericano del Niño
(IIN). 1999. "Ley sobre la violencia contra la mujer y la familia."
[Accessed 24 Dec. 1999]
Additional Sources Consulted
World News Connection (WNC)
Internet sites including:
Comité de América Latina y
el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer (CLADEM)
Fempress [Santiago]. Search
El Nacional [Caracas]. Search
United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP). 1999. Venezuela National Report.