Argentina: Women victims of domestic violence; state protection and resources available to victims (2013-2015) [ARG105407.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Situation
1.1 Background

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the National Women's Council (Consejo Nacional de las Mujeres, CNM), the government agency that sets out public policies to prevent, sanction and eradicate violence against women (Argentina n.d.a), indicated that violence against women is a [translation] "present and worrisome reality" in Argentina (ibid. 13 Jan. 2016). Media sources report that violence against women, including domestic violence, has its roots in the Argentinean culture, more specifically in patriarchy (Diario Libre 18 Sept. 2013) or in machismo (El Mundo 28 Nov. 2014), which considers women as objects (ibid.). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the Victims Against All Forms of Violence Program (Programa Las Víctimas contra las Violencias), a government program of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos) that provides assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence, similarly indicated that Argentina is a patriarchal society, where social organizations, the media, [translation] "and several institutions still reproduce a macho logic … that ignores violence [against women], blames the victim, and does not hold aggressors accountable" (Argentina 15 Jan. 2016). She explained that this behaviour [translation] "deepens impunity and victims' revictimization" (ibid.).

1.2 Statistics

El País, a Madrid-based newspaper, reports that there are [translation] "many" cases of abused women in Argentina and that the country does not have a registry of aggressors nor statistics on the number of women killed (3 July 2015). Perfil, a Buenos Aires-based newspaper, quotes the President of the Foundation for the Study and Research on Women (Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer, FEIM), an NGO that defends the rights of women and girls in Argentina (FEIM n.d.), as also stating that Argentina does not have a national registry with statistics on domestic violence (2 Aug. 2013). The website of La Casa del Encuentro, an NGO based in Buenos Aires that advances the rights of women (La Casa del Encuentro n.d.a), indicates that, based on information compiled from the media, 295 and 277 women died in 2013 and 2014, respectively, as a result of domestic or gender-based violence (ibid. n.d.b). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

A report published in October 2015 by the Domestic Violence Bureau (Oficina de Violencia Doméstica, OVD) of Argentina's Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación, CSJN) indicated that the OVD had received 11,273 domestic violence-related complaints so far in 2015, 10,252 in 2014, and 9,920 in 2013 (Argentina 8 Oct. 2015, 1). The percentage distribution of victims by gender and age group is as follows:

Gender/Age 2015 2014 2013
Women 66 65 64
Girls 13 14 14
Boys 12 12 14
Men 9 9 8

(ibid., 2).

The report provides the following percentages on the types of violence registered:

Type of Violence 2015 2014 2013
Psychological 97 96 96
Physical 66 67 68
Economic 35 37 42
Sexual 9 10 13

(ibid.).

The report further indicates the evaluation of the level of risk for the cases reported:

Level 2015 2014 2013
No risk 5 7 6
Low 14 13 11
Medium/moderate 54 49 45
High 23 25 29
Very high 4 6 9

(ibid., 3).

The report also indicates that, for 2015, the main perpetrators were ex-partners (46 percent), common-law spouses (18 percent), and spouses (14 percent) (ibid.). For 2014, the main perpetrators were ex-partners (43 percent), common-law spouses (19 percent), and spouses (16 percent) (ibid.).

1.3 Under-reporting

Diario Libre, a newspaper based in the Dominican Republic, quotes the Director of the Argentinean Observatory Adriana Marisel Zambrano on Femicides (Observatorio de Feminicidios Adriana Marisel Zambrano) as stating that [translation] "many" women victims of domestic violence do not file complaints (18 Sept. 2013). The representative of the Victims Against All Forms of Violence Program indicated that, according to the experience of the program, victims of domestic violence do not file complaints because they are afraid of reprisals from the aggressor and do not have economic self-sufficiency to cover relocation-related expenses (Argentina 15 Jan. 2016). The representative further indicated that between 35 and 38 percent of victims who call the program's hotline for assistance do not file complaints (ibid.).

2. Legislation

Law 26.485, Comprehensive Protection Law to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence Against Women Within Their Interpersonal Relationship Environments (Ley 26.485, Ley de Protección Integral para prevenir, sancionar y erradicar la Violencia contra las Mujeres en los Ámbitos en que desarrollen sus Relaciones Interpersonales) was adopted in 2009 (Argentina 2009). Forms of violence that are comprised in the definition of violence against women as per the Law include physical violence, psychological violence, economic violence and sexual violence, including spousal rape (ibid., Arts. 4-5). Article 26 of the Law outlines the protective measures available for women victims of violence, including domestic violence (Argentina 2009). A translation of this article is attached to this Response (Attachment 1).

The US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 indicates that "penalties for rape range from six months' to 20 years' imprisonment" (US 25 June 2015, 14). The same source states that "evidentiary requirements, either in the form of clear physical injury or the testimony of a witness, often presented difficulties in prosecuting" rape, including spousal rape (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Articles 7, 8, and 14 of Law 12569 of the Province of Buenos Aires indicate the protection measures that are available to victims of domestic violence in this province (Provincia de Buenos Aires 2001). A translation of these Articles is attached to this Response (Attachment 2). Information on other provincial laws on domestic violence could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to the Executive Director of La Casa del Encuentro, Argentina [translation] "'has made significant advances in legislation, but not on prevention and direct assistance to victims'" (El Mundo 28 Nov. 2014).

El País quotes the Director of the Foundation Sobran Motivos (Fundación Sobran Motivos), a Mendoza-based NGO that provides shelter to battered women, as stating that [translation] "'little by little all the protection measures that are enshrined in [Law 26.485] are being implemented'" (3 July 2015). She explained that while a male aggressor who has been accused of a crime receives free legal assistance, a woman who has been a victim of violence remains without counsel if she does not have enough resources (ibid.). The CNM representative similarly stated that the Law, in regards to access to the judicial system, for example, has not been fully implemented and that one of the main challenges is to have [translation] "resources allocated to the creation of comprehensive assistance programs" (Argentina 13 Jan 2016).

3. State Protection

The Executive Director of La Casa del Encuentro states that the police and the judiciary have a [translation] "'lukewarm'" attitude towards aggressors, they "'minimize'" the complaints filed by women, and they focus their investigation on the life of the victim rather than that of the aggressor (qtd. in El Mundo 28 Nov. 2014). The CNM representative similarly indicated that victims of domestic violence are [translation] "re-victimized" by authorities when they go to file a complaint, and that at some judicial bureaus, a "macho attitude" persists, which discourages victims to file complaints (Argentina 13 Jan. 2016).

Country Reports 2014 indicates that, according to local NGOs, a "lack of police and judicial vigilance often led to a lack of protection for victims" (US 25 June 2015, 15). Similarly, Diario Libre quotes the Director of the Adriana Marisel Zambrano Observatory on Femicides as stating that complaints do not always keep the aggressor away from the victim (18 Sept. 2013).

The representative of the Victims Against All Forms of Violence Program stated that, since the program started in 2006, [translation] "there have been advances in filing complaints, obtaining protection for victims and investigating domestic violence-related cases" (Argentina 15 Jan. 2016, 3). She added that in the city of Buenos Aires, the judiciary takes into consideration the program's interventions and the testimony of its experts, which eases the burden of proof for the victim (ibid.). However, she noted that [translation] "no other program [for victims of domestic violence, aside from the Victims Against All Forms of Violence Program] has an inter-disciplinary or specialized team that accompanies victims in the field in situations of emergency" (Argentina 15 Jan. 2016, 2).

Statistics on the investigation, prosecution and conviction of domestic violence crimes could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

4. Support Services
4.1 Shelters

Country Reports 2014 indicates that the municipal government of Buenos Aires operates "a small shelter for battered women" (US 25 June 2015, 16). The website of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights provides a referral guide with government programs to assist victims of domestic violence (Argentina n.d.c). These programs include the following shelters:

  • Casa-Refugio Mariquita Sánchez: shelters women who are 21 years-old or older and have been victims of domestic violence, as well as their children (ibid.). The address of the shelter is not available to the public, for safety reasons, but the shelter can be reached by dialing the Women's Hotline (Línea Mujer), at 0800-666-8537 (ibid.). The shelter takes in newcomers from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday (ibid.).
  • Casa de Medio Camino Julieta Lanteri: provides shelter to women victims of domestic violence who are in a [translation] "situation of social and employment reinsertion" (ibid.). The address of the shelter is also not available to the public, and the shelter can be reached by dialing Línea Mujer (ibid.).

In March 2013, the Foundation Sobran Motivos opened a shelter in Mendoza for women victims of violence (Fundación Sobran Motivos n.d.). The shelter has taken in [translation] "more than 230 women and children" since its opening (ibid.).

4.2 Consejo Nacional de las Mujeres' Hotline

The CNM representative indicated that the CNM operates a national hotline, called Línea 144, to provide advice and information on the types of assistance available, by locality, as well as information on how to proceed in cases of domestic violence (Argentina 13 Jan. 2016). The representative also indicated that, even though the hotline receives an average of 9,000 calls per month, it still has to deal with challenges in expanding its national coverage and in [translation] "coordinating its services with emergency assistance services and the procedures to file complaints" (ibid.).

4.3 Mobile Brigade for the Assistance of Victims of Domestic Violence

The Mobile Brigade for the Assistance of Victims of Domestic Violence (Brigada Móvil de Atención a Víctimas de Violencia Familiar) is a unit of the Victims Against All Forms of Violence Program (under the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights) that provides assistance, through hotline 137, 24 hours a day, year-round, and is free of charge (Argentina n.d.b). The brigade, which is based in Buenos Aires [it also provides services in three cities in the Misiones Province (Argentina 15 Jan. 2016, 1)], is composed of the following three teams:

  • A phone assistance team, composed of psychologists who take the calls;
  • A home intervention team, composed of psychologists and social workers, who provide assistance to victims, and of two federal police officers, who provide safety to the team and the victims;
  • A follow-up team, composed of four lawyers, who are on call to provide legal assistance to the home intervention team and to the victims (ibid.).

According to statistics provided by the representative of the Victims Against All Forms of Violence Program, the brigade made 1,808 "interventions" in 2015, 1,873 in 2014, and 2,215 in 2013 (Argentina n.d.d). The statistics also indicate that hotline 137 received 13,853 calls in 2015, 14,011 in 2014, and 14,786 in 2013, and that 2,451 adult victims received assistance in 2015, 2,629 in 2014, and 3,207 in 2013 (ibid.).

4.4 Other Programs

Other programs run by the national government or by the government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires are listed on the website of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (ibid. n.d.e). They include the following:

  • The OVD: it receives complaints for domestic violence cases 24 hours a day from Monday to Friday;
  • The Victim's Assistance Centre (Centro de Atención a la Víctima) of the Argentinean Federal Police, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Monday to Friday;
  • The Women's Hotline (Línea Mujer) 0800-66-MUJER (0800-666-8537), free of charge;
  • Community Centres for the Assistance of Victims of Violence (Centros Comunitarios de Atención Integral a la Violencia): they provide legal and psychological assistance to victims of domestic violence (ibid. n.d.c).

Information on the effectiveness of these programs could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. Further information on services available outside of Buenos Aires could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate 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 for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Argentina. 15 January 2016. Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos, Programa Las Víctimas contra las Violencias. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.

_____. 13 January 2016. Consejo Nacional de las Mujeres (CNM). Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.

_____. 8 October 2015. Oficina de Violencia Doméstica (OVD), Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación (CSJN). Estadísticas comparativas a 7 años de creación de la OVD. <http://www.csjn.gov.ar/docus/documentos/verdoc.jsp?ID=95226> [Accessed 6 Jan. 2015]

_____. 2009. Ley 26.485, Ley de Protección Integral para prevenir, sancionar y erradicar la Violencia contra las Mujeres en los Ámbitos en que desarrollen sus Relaciones Interpersonales. <http://www.infoleg.gov.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/150000-154999/152155/norma.htm> [Accessed 6 Jan. 2016]

_____. N.d.a. Consejo Nacional de las Mujeres (CNM). "¿Qué es el Consejo Nacional de las Mujeres?" <http://www.cnm.gov.ar/Institucional/QueEsElCNM.html> [Accessed 15 Jan. 2016]

_____. N.d.b. Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos. "Atención a las víctimas: violencia familiar." <http://www.jus.gob.ar/atencion-al-ciudadano/atencion-a-las-victimas/violencia-familiar.aspx> [Accessed 7 Jan. 2016]

_____. N.d.c. Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos. "Guía de derivaciones: violencia familiar." <http://www.jus.gob.ar/atencion-al-ciudadano/guia-de-derivaciones/violencia-familiar.aspx> [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016]

_____. N.d.d. Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos, Programa Las Víctimas contra las Violencias. Programa Las Víctimas contra las Violencias - Violencia familiar. Sent to the Research Directorate by a representative, 15 January 2016.

_____. N.d.e. Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos. "Atención al ciudadano: guía de derivaciones." <http://www.jus.gob.ar/atencion-al-ciudadano/guia-de-derivaciones.aspx> [Accessed 21 Jan. 2016]

Diario Libre. 18 September 2013. "Violencia de género, un flagelo en Argentina con casi una muerte diaria." <http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/violencia-de-gnero-un-flagelo-en-argentina-con-casi-una-muerte-diaria-GMDL402859> [Accessed 7 Jan. 2016]

El Mundo. 28 November 2014. César G. Calero. "Cada 30 horas muere una mujer en Argentina víctima de la violencia de género." <http://www.elmundo.es/america/2014/11/28/5477de1322601d0f748b4575.html> [Accessed 7 Jan. 2016]

El País. 3 July 2015. Vanessa Escuer. "Maltratadas hasta la muerte." <http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/07/02/planeta_futuro/1435834308_250684.html> [Accessed 7 Jan. 2016]

Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (FEIM). N.d. "Qué hacemos." <http://www.feim.org.ar/hacemos.html> [Accessed 15 Jan. 2016]

Fundación Sobran Motivos. N.d. "Cómo podemos ayudarte…" <http://www.sobranmotivos.org/como-podemos-ayudarte/> [Accessed 21 Jan. 2016]

La Casa del Encuentro. N.d.a. "Quiénes somos." <http://www.lacasadelencuentro.org/quienes_somos_esp.html> [Accessed 18 Jan. 2016]

_____. N.d.b. "Femicidios." <http://www.lacasadelencuentro.org/femicidios.html> [Accessed 18 Jan. 2016]

Perfil. 2 August 2013. Bárbara García Crespo. "Violencia de género: en más del 80% el agresor es pareja de la víctima." <http://www.perfil.com/sociedad/Violencia-de-genero-en-mas-del-80-el-agresor-es-pareja-de-la-victima-20130801-0024.html> [Accessed 7 Jan. 2016]

Provincia de Buenos Aires. 2001. Ley 12569. <http://www.gob.gba.gov.ar/legislacion/legislacion/l-12569.html> [Accessed 7 Jan. 2016]

United States (US). 25 June 2015. Department of State. "Argentina." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014. <http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/236872.pdf> [Accessed 18 Jan. 2015]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Argentina – Corte Suprema de Justicia, Ministerio Público Fiscal, Policía Federal Argentina; Asociación Argentina de Prevención de la Violencia Familiar; Buenos Aires – Línea Mujer Gratuita 0800-66-MUJER; Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer; Fundación Sobran Motivos; Observatorio Provincial de Violencia contra las Mujeres; Organización Proyecto Pura Vida.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; Argentina – Ministerio de Desarrollo Social; Clarín; ecoi.net; Factiva; Guioteca; Human Rights Watch; International Crisis Group; Provincia de Córdoba — Poder Judicial; Radio Continental; United Nations – RefWorld, UN Women.

Attachments

1. Argentina. 2009. Ley 26.485, Ley de Protección Integral para prevenir, sancionar y erradicar la Violencia contra las Mujeres en los Ámbitos en que se desarrollen sus Relaciones Interpersonales (Comprehensive Protection Law to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence Against Women Within Their Interpersonal Relationship Environments). Excerpts translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Works and Procurement Canada. <http://www.infoleg.gov.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/150000-154999/152155/norma.htm> [Accessed 6 Jan. 2016]

2. Provincia de Buenos Aires. 2001. Ley 12569. Excerpts translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Works and Procurement Canada. <http://www.gob.gba.gov.ar/legislacion/legislacion/l-12569.html> [Accessed 7 Jan. 2016]