Mexico: Justice system fails domestic violence survivors

Thousands of Mexican Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who survive violence in their homes are being put at risk of further abuse by a justice system that often fails to take their safety seriously, said Amnesty International in a new report today.

Amnesty International’s report explores the obstacles Mexican Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights face when trying to report cases of domestic violence – including officials refusing to accept complaints, a poor investigations procedure and a weak enforcement of protective measures. The report is being published 18 months after Mexico passed a law to counter violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Americas Programme, Kerrie Howard said:

“Over a year ago, Mexico took the positive step of passing a new law to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from violence, but a law will not prevent Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from being beaten, raped and abused unless it’s implemented rigorously at the federal and state level.”

As in the case of many other parts of the world violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the home in Mexico is endemic. According to a national survey conducted in 2006, one in four Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have suffered abuse at the hands of their partner and 82 per cent of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights decided not to report it.

Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who find the courage to report the abuse are often treated with indifference and have to prove they are subject to violence. In many cases officials even ask them to deliver summons to their aggressor.

Kerrie Howard continued:

“Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Mexico need to have their complaints of abuse taken seriously and to be able to access justice as well as effective protection mechanisms such as refuges.”

The General Law on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Access to a Life Free From Violence was enacted in February 2007. Since then, many states have approved similar legislation but not yet taken concrete measures to ensure the law is properly funded and enforced.

Amnesty International is calling on Mexico’s federal and state authorities to:
Make a public commitment to prioritise the implementation of the 2007 legislation to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from violence and invest the necessary funds to put it into practice.
Investigate and publish findings on why reporting, prosecution and conviction rates for violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights remain so low and take specific measures to tackle obstacles identified by these investigations.

Case study
In the Mexican state of Sonora, the former husband of a woman named Marcela broke into her house and stabbed her, leaving her paralysed for four months.

Marcela had made more than ten complaints to the public prosecutor’s office about the abuse she was suffering over the past few years. However on each occasion she was advised to resolve the issue directly with her partner. One time, she was told “when you come with a bruise, we’ll do something”.

After the stabbing, Marcela’s former husband was prosecuted for attempted murder and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment but is now appealing the length of his sentence. Marcela is scared that when he is released he will find her and kill her.

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