Information on domestic violence and remedies for victims of stalking or rape by a former boyfriend (Update to VEN33338.E of 29 December 1999) [VEN40379.E]

Please find attached an excerpt from the most recent edition of Country Reports dealing with domestic violence and specifically addressing the issue of recourse in cases of rape. This adds to the information provided in VEN37974.E of 26 October 2001 and earlier Responses referred to therein.

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.

Additional Sources Consulted

Cronología Andina [Lima]. "Venezuela." 1999-2002

Fempress [Santiago]

IRB Databases

Latin American Regional Reports: Andean Group [London]. 1999-2002

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 1999-2002

El Nacional [Caracas]. Searchable archives

El Universal [Caracas]. Searchable archives [Caracas]. Searchable archives


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002. 31 March 2003. "Venezuela." United States Department of State. Washington, D.C. [Accessed 3 June 2003] Electronic Attachment

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002. 31 March 2003. "Venezuela." United States Department of State. Washington, D.C. [Accessed 3 June 2003]

Section 5. Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Disability, Language, or Social Status
Violence against women continued to be a problem, and women faced substantial institutional and societal prejudice with respect to rape and domestic violence during the year. Domestic violence against women was very common and was aggravated by the country's economic difficulties. There were 8,411 cases of domestic violence reported to the authorities during the year. Many domestic violence cases were not reported to the police. The police generally were unwilling to intervene to prevent domestic violence, and the courts rarely prosecuted those accused of such abuse, according to local monitors. In addition, poor women generally were unaware of legal remedies and have little access to them. The law requires police to report domestic violence and obligates hospital personnel to advise the authorities when it admits patients who are victims of domestic abuse cases.
Rape is extremely difficult to prove, requiring at a minimum medical examination within 48 hours of the crime. A provision in the Penal Code also provides that an adult man guilty of raping an adult woman with whom he is acquainted can avoid punishment if, before sentencing, he marries the victim. Few police officers were trained to assist rape victims. During the year, the police received 3,492 reports of rape. However, women's organizations asserted that these figures were low and did not accurately portray the problem of rape and sexual assault. They claimed that many victims did not report the incident or press charges due to societal pressure and their own feelings of guilt.

Associated documents