Implementation of the law on domestic violence of 1994, particularly number of charges laid, whether police follow up on complaints, number of cases heard by courts, whether perpetrators are charged and convicted, and whether the law is implemented at the local level [CHL30689.E]

The information that follows adds to that provided in CHL25418.E of 21 November 1996 and CHL24163.E of 27 June 1996.

During a 10 December 1998 telephone interview, a representative of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Program of the National Women's Service (Servicio Nacional de la Mujer, SERNAM) stated that the most recent statistics and studies of the implementation of the law on domestic violence are not yet in the public domain.

Figures for 1996 were made public, and in early 1998 Country Reports 1997 published them as follows:

The public is only beginning to appreciate the extent of physical abuse of women. The National Women's Service (SERNAM), created in 1991 to combat discrimination against women, found in a 1996 study of more than 12,000 reports of domestic violence that 3 years after the Law on Intra-Family Violence went into effect, only one in five accusations resulted in judicial action. The study indicated that spouses or domestic partners were responsible for 88 percent of family violence and that 63 percent of the reports represented physical attacks. The study showed that in nearly three-quarters of reported cases of domestic violence, the accusation led to a positive change in the domestic situation regardless of the judicial outcome. SERNAM also conducted courses on the legal, medical, and psychological aspects of domestic violence for police officers and judicial and municipal authorities.
The courts may order counseling for those involve in intrafamily violence. In 1996 there were 57,939 civil court cases of domestic violence.
A 1996 survey by the National Minors Service indicated that sexual abuse of minors occurs but that few cases are reported. A September 1996 United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) report stated that 34 percent of children under 12 years of age experience serious physical violence, although only 3.2 percent of the victims of intra-family violence reported to the national police family affairs unit were below the age of 18.

Another 1998 report states that since the 1994 law on domestic violence went into effect, "the number of complaints filed has sky-rocketed under its relatively streamlined procedures" (IPS 13 Apr. 1998). The report also cites a 1995 review by the Women's Institute in Santiago looked at 2,619 court cases of domestic violence, and showed that "in a Santiago court, protective measures were solicited in 59 percent of cases and granted in 15 percent," adding that "some 20.5 percent of cases ended in reconciliation; only 1.7 percent were sentenced; 2.1 percent were dropped and 71.9 percent were still pending" (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.


Country Report on Human Rights Practices for1997. 30 January 1998 "Chile." Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State (REFWORLD)

Inter Press Service (IPS). 13 April 1998. Lezak Shallat. "Chile: Chilean Women Seek Democracy in the Nation and at Home." (NEXIS)

Servicio Nacional de la Mujer (SERNAM), Santiago. 10 December 1998. Telephone interview with program representative.

Additional Sources Consulted

Andean Newsletter [Lima]. 1996-98.

Fempress [Santiago, Chile]. 1996-98.

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 1996-98.

Latin American Regional Reports: Southern Cone Report [London]. 1996-1998.

Latin American Weekly Report [London]. 1998.

Electronic sources: Internet, Global NewsBank, REFWORLD, World News Connection (WNC).

Two oral sources consulted were unable to provide the requested information.

This list is not exhaustive. Country and subject-specific publications available in the Resource Centre are not included.