Number and location of police offices dealing specifically with complaints from women [CRI42320.E]

According to information provided on the Website of the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy (Ministerio de Planificación Nacional y Política Económica, MIDEPLAN), an Office for Women (Oficina de la Mujer) is attached to the 7th Police Station (Sétima Comisaría) in Hatillo, a San José suburb (Costa Rica n.d.). The office, which receives complaints from both female and male victims of violence, provides protection measures and counselling over an area that includes Hatillo, Sagrada Familia, Alajuelita, San Sebastian, Escazú, Heredia, Santa Ana, Desamparados and Aserrí (ibid.). No mention of other police offices dealing specifically with complaints from women could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, as part of the National Plan for the Attention and Prevention of Domestic Violence (Plan Nacional de Prevención y Atención de la Violencia Intrafamiliar, PLANOVI), the authorities began to establish Municipal Offices for Women (Oficinas Municipales de la Mujer, OFIMs) in 1996 (UNDP June 1999, 116; INAMU n.d., 9). Spearheaded by the National Women's Institute (Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, INAMU) as a means of promoting women's rights at the local level, OFIMs are mandated to offer clients specialized attention in the area of domestic violence along with a variety of other services (ibid., 10).

In October 1999, 30 OFIMs were in place throughout the country (Costa Rica Oct. 1999). The number of such offices had increased to 46 by March 2003, although 7 of these were described by the INAMU as being temporarily closed (2003, 25). The INAMU's objective is reportedly to establish an OFIM in every municipality (INAMU n.d., 8).

There are 12 OFIMs in the Province of San José: the San José OFIM is located in the municipality's headquarters; the Tibás OFIM is on the east side of the central park; the Desamparados OFIM is on the north side of Centenario park; the Goicoechea OFIM is located beside the Más X Menos grocery store in central Guadalupe; the Moravia OFIM is on the south side of the Roman Catholic church; the Coronado OFIM is on the north side of the church square; the Escazú OFIM is 500 metres west and 75 metres north of municipal headquarters; the Aserrí OFIM is located in front of the central park; the Acosta OFIM is on the north side of the Roman Catholic church; the San Pedro OFIM is located on a diagonal from the church; the Santa Ana OFIM can be found at the northwest corner of the Roman Catholic church; and the Curridabat OFIM is located in municipal headquarters (ibid. 2003, 25).

There are nine OFIMs in the Province of Alajuela: the Alajuela OFIM is located on a diagonal from the southeast corner of the central park; the Grecia OFIM is on the central park's north side; the San Mateo OFIM is on the west side of the central park; the San Carlos OFIM is beside the central park; and the Orotina, Los Chiles, Naranjo, Atenas and Poás OFIMs are all located in their respective municipal headquarters (ibid.).

There are seven OFIMs in the Province of Heredia: the Heredia OFIM is in the municipality's headquarters; the Sarapiquí OFIM is on the northeast side of the courthouse in the centre of Puerto Viejo; the Santo Domingo OFIM is on the west corner of the central park; the Barva OFIM is located in front of the church; the Belén OFIM is on the east side of the Roman Catholic church; the San Rafael OFIM is located on a diagonal from the church; and the Santa Bárbara OFIM is on the north side of the central park (ibid.).

There are six OFIMs in the Province of Puntarenas: the Puntarenas OFIM is 100 metres north of the José Marti school; the Montes de Oro and Parrita OFIMs' location are not specified; and the Garabito, Osa and Aguirre OFIMs are all located in their respective municipal headquarters (ibid.).

There are eight OFIMs in the Province of Guanacaste: the Carrillo OFIM is 100 metres north and 100 metres east of the Banco Nacional; the Abangares OFIM is in front of the church; the Nicoya OFIM is on the east side of the central park; the Hojancha OFIM is located in the county's police headquarters; the Tilarán OFIM's location is not specified; and the Cañas, La Cruz and Bagaces OFIMs are all located in their respective municipal headquarters (ibid.).

There are four OFIMs in the Province of Limón: the Puerto Limón OFIM is located in an annex of the municipality's headquarters; the Siquirres OFIM is on the west side of the central park; and the Guácimo and Talamanca OFIMs are both located in their respective municipal headquarters (ibid.).

The INAMU characterized the Tibás, Grecia, Orotina, Osa, Parrita, Puerto Limón and Guácimo OFIMs as temporarily closed (ibid.). Furthermore, the organization described the following OFIMs as specializing in violence (especializadas en violencia): Desamparados, Goicoechea, Moravia, Coronado, Escazú, San Pedro, Alajuela, San Carlos, Naranjo, San Rafael, Puntarenas, Carrillo, Abangares and Siquirres (ibid.).

On 25 December 2003, the newspaper La Nación stated that an OFIM had been established in San Ramón, Alajuela. It is reportedly open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is located adjacent to the mayor's office (La Nación 25 Dec. 2003).

A number of media reports refer to OFIM activities in the area of domestic violence (ibid. 6 May 2002; ibid. 22 Oct. 2002; ibid. 22 July 2001). For example, the San Carlos OFIM responded to 370 domestic violence complaints in 2001 and a further 195 in the first three months of 2002 (ibid. 6 May 2002). The Goicoechea OFIM received 249 complaints of domestic violence in the first three months of 2001, with 98 per cent of victims being women, children or adolescents (ibid. 22 July 2001). According to Marlene Mora Segura, coordinator of the Grecia OFIM, her office handles approximately 300 domestic violence cases per year, with 40 per cent of victims requesting immediate police protection (ibid. 22 Oct. 2002). On 13 July 2003, La Nación reported that the Naranjo OFIM had recently established two counselling groups, one providing parenting support, the other dealing with sexual abuse.

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.

References


Costa Rica. October 1999. Programa Estado de la Nación. Estado de la nación en desarollo sostenible: quinto informe. Edited by Alexandra Steinmetz. http://www.estadonacion.or.cr/Info99/nacion5/rec-1-3.html [Accessed 29 Dec. 2003]

Costa Rica. n.d. Ministerio de Planificación Nacional y Política Económica (MIDEPLAN). "Ministerio de Seguridad Pública." http://www.mideplan.go.cr/Modernizacion/instituciones/mseg.htm [Accessed 29 Dec. 2003]

Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (INAMU), San José. 2003. Memoria institucional: mayo 2002-abril 2003. http://www.inamu.go.cr/publicaciones/memoria_inamu.pdf [Accessed 2 Jan. 2004]

_____. n.d. Políticas de género en el ámbito local y municipal, un desafío de política pública. http://www.inamu.go.cr/municipalidades/ambito_local.pdf [Accessed 29 Dec. 2003]

La Nación [San José]. 25 December 2003. "Oficina de la Mujer." http://www.nacion.com/ln_ee/2003/diciembre/25/pais6.html [Accessed 29 Dec. 2003]

_____. 13 July 2003. "Nuevos servicios." http://www.nacion.com/ln_ee/2003/julio/13/pais11.html [Accessed 29 Dec. 2003]

_____. 22 October 2002. Marlene Mora Segura. "Limpia, pero violenta." http://www.nacion.com/ln_ee/2002/octubre/22/opinion6.html [Accessed 29 Dec. 2003]

_____. 6 May 2002. Carlos Hernández. "Violencia golpea hogares del norte." http://www.nacion.com/ln_ee/2002/mayo/06/pais10.html [Accessed 29 Dec. 2003]

_____. 22 July 2001. "Crecen denuncias." http://www.nacion.com/ln_ee/2001/julio/22/pais12.html [Accessed 29 Dec. 2003]

United Nations Development Program (UNDP). June 1999. Informes nacionales sobre la situación de la violencia de género contra las mujeres: informe nacional Costa Rica. (RLA/97/OIA) http://www.undp.org/rblac/gender/campaign-spanish/costaricabigfile.pdf [Accessed 29 Dec. 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted


IRB databases

Internet sites, including:

AM Costa Rica [San José]

Comite de America Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer (CLADEM)

Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (INAMU)

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policia y Seguridad Publica

La Nación [San José]. 2001-2003

Tico Times [San José]