400 Women In Costa Rica Flee Their Homes Every Year At The Risk of Being Killed

Nearly 400 women each year in Costa Rica must leave their homes to seek refuge in shelters of the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (Inamu) – National Institute of Women – in the face of “imminent danger of death” due to domestic violence.

This is one of the figures that emerges from the third report of the Sistema Unificado de Medición Estadística de la Violencia de Género en Costa Rica (Unified System of Statistical Measurement of Gender Violence in Costa Rica), which brings together information from authorities such as the Inamu, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Judiciary, the 911 Emergency System, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), and the Ministry of Security.

According to the data, from 2012 to 2016, inclusive, the Specialized Care Centers and Temporary Shelter for Women (Ceaam) received 1,860 women and their children.

In addition, the women’s delegations, which corresponds to the other service that Inamu provides to the victims of various forms of violence, attended 43,550 consultations in the five years analyzed.

These actions correspond mostly to requests for legal advice, psychological care, and social work.

For the president of Inamu, Patricia Mora, having this data will allow the women’s center to work more effectively in the eradication of gender violence in Costa Rica.

“You cannot implement successful policies if you do not know closely and with hard numbers what is happening in the country,” said Mora.

According to Mora, statistics also allow identifying which types of violence that occur most.

“The blow that a woman endures is the symptom of a greater evil (…) We will try to root out the evil that today embarrasses us as Costa Ricans,” she added.

Mora explained that, by declaring violence against women as a national emergency, they will be able to focus on the human and economic resources in the detection and eradication of this evil.

In her opinion, prevention should not only be about making the judicialization of cases more efficient but about empowering women so that they do not continue to endure beatings because they depend on their aggressors economically.

For his part, the president of the Supreme Court, Carlos Chinchilla Sandí, said it is necessary to modify the criminal process to prevent women who suffer aggressions from being revictimized.

“What must be is to take a single statement from the victim and not expose her again and again to the same punishment (…) the protection has to be broader and they must be protected in the criminal process itself,” he said.

In his opinion, moreover, there should not be a distinction between ‘extended femicide’ and ‘femicide’ punished by the Law on the Penalization of Violence against Women (Ley de Penalización de Violencia contra las Mujeres).

The latter only includes victims who live or are married to their aggressor under this crime, while in the extended includes those who are murdered for being a woman, but it is penalized as a regular homicide under the Penal Code.

“We do not want them to be statistics, but to be living women who contribute to our society,” added the Supreme Court chief justice.

Femicide on the rise.

So far this year, 10 women have lost their lives at the hands of their partners, ex-partners or because of their gender.

According to the data of the report presented this Tuesday, there were 119 cases between 2012 and 2016 (inclusive) and 26  in 2107.

In as much, data of the Ministry of Health on notifications of intrafamilial violence revealed that the rate of incidence in women represents the double of men.

For example, for 2016, for every 10,000 reported cases, 39 were women and 15 men. In addition, the majority of cases in which the victims are men correspond to older adults.

In relation to the type of violence reported, physical and psychological abuse represent the highest rate of 20% and 25% of the total cases; Around 14% of cases are for sexual abuse.

In addition, 1,224 cases of sexual harassment were registered in the period covered by the report.

The data takes into account only reported cases.

Source (in Spanish): La Nacion

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