23, September, 2016

Domestic violence laws in the spotlight: enhancing protection services for survivors in Mexico

This brief analyses the implementation of Mexico’s law on domestic violence and sets out recommendations on how to improve implementation.

The Latin American convention on gender-based violence, known as Belém do Pará, creates obligations for individual countries to address domestic violence. Therefore, almost all countries in the region have legislative frameworks on domestic violence, but many face challenges in implementing them. This brief analyses the Mexican domestic violence law’s implementation and sets out some recommendations to improve it. It shows that, although a comprehensive law exists in Mexico, in practice, institutions should review and transform their mandate in order to fulfill the States’ obligation to prevent, protect and punish domestic violence.

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Key Lessons:

  • The Mexican protection model’s premises should be reviewed so that domestic violence is recognized and tackled as a problem which is rooted in society, and is not seen merely as a problem within individual households.
  • The staff at the institutions forming part of the protection model – the police, public health services and CAVI [ Centro de Apoyo de Violencia Intrafamiliar for its acronym in spanish ] – must be trained and sensitized on domestic violence and women’s rights, so that they can perform their duties adequately and survivors receive effective attention and protection at an early stage. The CAVI are centres of the Special Prosecutor Office which have been created to assist women with legal, psychological and medical services. These spaces are failing to provide adequate protection services to women and should be urgently assessed so they can fulfil its’ mandate.
  • Since shelters’ specialized services are highly valued by survivors, public funds and policies aimed at supporting them should be continued and strengthened.
  • Shelters’ confidentiality policies should be reviewed as many survivors consider that isolation from the external world during their stay at the shelter is a barrier in their recovery process.

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