Whether the Comisaria de Abuso de la Mujer investigates complaints against police or other state officials for domestic violence [ECU41448.E]

For general information on the Comisarias de la Mujer y la Familia, please refer to ECU33954.E of 23 March 2000.

In a 13 May 2003 telephone interview, an official of the non-governmental organization Corporacion Mujer a Mujer stated that her organization works alongside the government institutions of the Comisaria de la Mujer y la Familia, also known as the Comisaria de Abuso de la Mujer. The official also stated that the Comisaria de la Mujer y la Familia provides lawyers to women who are victims of domestic violence and that these lawyers sometimes represent the women against the police and other officials when the police fail to give protection to the women (Corporacion Mujer a Mujer 13 May 2003). However, the Christian Missionary Association Newsletter states that, although the Comisarias de la Mujer accept complaints about abuse of women, they cannot act on them; they can only refer cases to prosecutors (Mar. 2003; Country Reports 2002, Sec. 5).

A lawyer at the Comisaria de la Mujer y la Familia, in Cuenca, stated in a telephone interview that the police provide protection to the women in approximately 50 per cent of the cases (Ecuador 13 May 2003). In cases where the police do not help, the women, who can identify a police officer by his badge, can complain to the Comisaria de la Mujer y la Familia, which in its turn, follows through with a complaint to the chief of police (ibid.). The Comisaria de la Mujer y la Familia does not represent the women before the courts for complaints against the police but mentions the problem to the police chief to bring the issue to his attention (ibid.). This method generally is effective since police officers, who are governed by military law, fear the military sanctions they might face (ibid.). The women can also complain directly to the police station; however, because, generally, they do not know where to go, they turn to the Comisaria for help (ibid.).

In the case of a police officer who is the abuser, the official stated that if the woman files a complaint, her deposition will not be believed; the police officer's testimony will be the one taken into consideration since it is deemed to have stronger credibility (Corporacion Mujer a Mujer 21 May 2003). In order to counteract the strength of the police testimony, the woman has to gather additional proof such as witness testimonies (ibid.). She would have to obtain the testimony of neighbours, friends and family members (ibid.). A woman can only file a complaint against an abusive spouse or companion if she produces a witness (Christian Missionary Association Mar. 2003; Country Reports 2002, Sec. 5).

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.


Christian Missionary Association. March 2003. Newsletter. Helen Redman. "Women of Ecuador." http://www.christianmissionary.org/y2003mar.shtml [Accessed 6 May 2003]

Corporacion Mujer a Mujer. 13 May 2003. Telephone interview with an official.

_____. 21 May 2003. Telephone interview with an official.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002. United States Department of State. Washington, DC http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18330.htm [Accessed 6 May 2003]

Ecuador. 13 May 2003. Comisaria de la Mujer y de la Familia, Cuenca. Telephone interview with a lawyer.

Additional Sources Consulted

Unsuccessful attempts to contact the Comisaria de la Mujer y la Familia in Quito.

Internet sites, including:

Canadian Crossroads International (CCI)

Comision Andina de Juristas

Coordinadora Politica de Mujeres Ecuatorianas

Derecho Ecuador

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)