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THE PERUVIAN FAMILY VIOLENCE LAW: ADOPTION AND
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
This document is dedicated to my mother, Carmen Frechette, who is an exceptional and
exemplar woman who taught me the importance of always going forward.
I would like to thank my thesis committee chair, Dr. Philip Williams, for his
precious support and guidance throughout the last two years. I would like to thank also
Dr. Carmen Diana Deere for her invaluable feedback and contribution to my thesis.
Additionally, I am grateful to the Center for Latin American Studies for funding my
graduate studies and also for their financial support in the realization of my fieldwork
research and particularly to Dr. Charles Wood for his patience and availability.
I would like to thank my friends Geraldine Slean and Wendy Pond who helped me
so much in the edition of the thesis. Finally, I would like to thank Juan Posada who has
been always encouraging and comprehensive throughout those two years. Without him
my career would have probably taken a totally different direction.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv
L IS T O F T A B L E S ................. ........................................................ ............ ................. ... v ii
L IST O F F IG U R E S ................................................................ ...... .... .... ............ .. viii
1 INTRODUCTION TO THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT............................................1
T h e R eg ion al C ontex t ........................................................................ .......... .. .. ...2
The Peruvian Context ................... ................. ............... ....... .. ........ ..
The Ratification of the Family Violence Law ............................................................6
The Implementation of the Family Violence Law................... ...............................10
R research Q u estion s........... .................................................................. ........ .. ....... 13
D efin itio n s ................................................................13
R research M methods .................................................... ........ .. ...... ... 14
O outline of Chapters ................................................................ ........ ... 15
2 FAMILY VIOLENCE LAW IN PERU: A TWO-STAGE MODEL OF NORM
D IF F U S IO N ...............................................................................................................1 7
Introduction to the Two-Stage M odel..................................................................... 17
W om men's M ovem ent ........................................ ... .... ........ ......... 20
The Concept of Autonomy ............................................................................ 21
P political O p p ortu n ities.............................................................. .....................2 4
Application of the Two-Stage M odel to Peru....................................................25
The Feminist Movement: a Key Actor................................. .......................... 26
The Development of Autonomy and Consciousness in Peru ............. ..............30
Political Opportunities Under Fujimori's Government.....................................36
C o n clu sio n ......... ................... ......... ........ ........................................ 4 4
3 THE RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
FAM ILY VIOLEN CE LAW ............................. ............................ ............... 46
Introduction ................................................................................................... ... 46
The Implementation of the Family Violence Law.............................................48
Em pow erm ent........ ..... .... ............................. .... .......... .............. .. 49
State A accountability .............. ............. .... .. ........................ ............. 51
Limitations to the Rights-Based Approach ............... ...............58
Structural O b stacles........... ........................................................ .. ........ .... 58
C cultural O b stacles ..... ............ .............................. ................... .. ............ .. 63
Internal Problems: the "NGOization" of the Feminist Movement.....................66
Conclusion .............. ........... ........... ....... ......... 72
4 C O N C L U S IO N .................................................................... ......... ................... 7 4
APPENDIX LAW FOR PROTECTION FROM FAMILY VIOLENCE ......................... 81
L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ......... .....................................................................................85
BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ...................................................... 91
1. National Legislation on Domestic Violence......... ............. ....... ..................44
1. Shows how NGO's work at the individual and national levels ...................................57
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
THE PERUVIAN FAMILY VIOLENCE LAW: ADOPTION AND
Chair: Philip Williams
Major Department: Latin American Studies
This thesis explores the contribution made by the women's movement in the
adoption and the implementation of the Law for Protection from Family Violence ratified
by the Peruvian government in 1993. It examines how the Peruvian feminist movement
placed the issue of domestic violence on the public agenda during the 1980s in order to
develop women's consciousness and to obtain government's acknowledgement of the
problem. It also analyzes how feminist NGOs work since the mid-1990s in attempting to
make the state accountable to the law, and to improve women's individual empowerment.
Throughout the 80s and early 90s, the Peruvian feminist movement played a central
role in raising awareness on violence against women, making domestic violence an issue
of political and public interest. Under a government undertaking the parameters of an
dictatorial regime, the feminist movement created alliances between Congresswomen and
women from the public administration seizing the right opportunity to press for the
adoption of the Law for Protection from Family Violence enacted in December 1993.
The Peruvian feminist movement has been very active trying to enforce the Law for
Protection from Family Violence. Since the 90s, feminists have adopted an approach
based on rights working on an individual and national base. They provide services to
empower domestic violence victims, and work to enforce and improve the law.
However, obstacles limit the feminist NGO rights-based approach constraining their
efforts to improve the implementation of the law. Feminist's strategy is firstly
constrained by obstacles present within the political and justice system. The enforcement
of the law is also limited by a general cultural biased attitude from institutional actors as
well as from women. Finally, internal obstacles within NGOs have created fragmentation
within the feminist movement and have decreased grassroots support for the broader
women's movement to work for the advancement and enforcement of the Law for
Protection from Family Violence.
INTRODUCTION TO THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT
Domestic violence is a widespread problem all over the world and has long been
considered an invisible issue that takes place within the private sphere, beyond the reach
of legal institutions and the protection of the state. In the past, wife beating was not
considered a crime but was rather a family's personal concern; women were treated as
children and their misbehaviors needed to be corrected and controlled both physically and
economically by their male spouses (Hernandez 1997:8). Creating legislation to regulate
such private matters was politically and socially unacceptable because it was viewed as
an invasion of the patriarchal households' authority. As a consequence, domestic
violence was not only considered beyond the reach of the national system of law but also
beyond the jurisdiction of the international legal system.1 However, the last two decades
have witnessed public recognition of gender violence through the signing of international
agreements, the enactment of national legislation, and the creation of novel institutions
such as women's ministries. Throughout the 80s and 90s, domestic violence within the
private sphere has moved into public debate and has been recognized by the majority of
the international community's members as a human rights violation.2
1 The first international instrument to protect human rights was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(1948) but it did not have a gender-focus.
2 The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was adopted in December 1993.
The Regional Context
In Latin America the ratification of international and national legislation has roots
in the mobilization of the regional women's movement that reemerged in the mid-1970s.
During that period, known as the second wave of the women's movement, women
became important political and social actors. Numerous studies have analyzed the factors
leading to the rise of women's movements throughout Latin America at that time
(Jaquette 1994; Jaquette and Wolchik 1998; Vargas and Wieringa 1998; Schmukler and
Valenzuela 1998). The economic crisis of the 1970s and the structural adjustment
policies carried out by governments entailed a drastic decline in government social
spending. Grassroots organizations composed of women from the lower urban class
mobilized on the basis of their traditional gender roles to seek strategies to feed their
families, calling for greater state accountability in the provision of basic social services.
In the 1970s in taking up the anticommunist crusade, Latin America's military
regimes did not hesitate to repress any individual suspected of being politically active in
the leftist parties. Mothers in theirs forties and fifties, such as the Mothers of the Plaza de
Mayo in Argentina and the Chilean Association of the Detained and Disappeared, were
the first to react to the torture, killing and disappearances carried out by the military
governments. These women were the pioneers of the human rights movements, clearly
announcing their opposition to authoritarian governments and calling for a return to
democracy (Feijo6 1998).
The UN Decade of Women (1976-1985) that resulted from the '74 UN Conference
on Women in Mexico provided an important impetus for the development of regional
feminist movements (Jaquette 1994:4). The middle-class feminist movements began to
organize new networks in defense of women's individual and social rights. Their
mobilization strove to raise women's consciousness about oppression and make gender a
political issue. As Virginia Vargas explains: "during the 1970s and the 1980s feminist
groups questioned cultural and political paradigms which concealed the complexity of
underlying power relations between men and women in socioeconomic, political, cultural
and sexual life" (Vargas 2002: 200).
Finally, the mobilization of these different women's groups continue into the
democratic transitions that occurred in most Latin American countries during the 1980s.
The transition from authoritarian regimes to democratic rule made apparent "the paradox
of authoritarian relationships and gender in state, political, and private institutions" and
created a political opportunity where women were able to voice their concerns in the
public arena (Schmukler and Valenzuela 1998:69). Throughout that period, feminist
campaigns principally worked to increase women's awareness of their social and political
exclusion, and to raise recognition of women's discriminated and subordinated positions
within the household and society. As a result of the development of this consciousness,
attention then turned to violence against women, particularly that taking place within the
privacy of the household.
Turning to the 1990s, the changes in the national, regional and global context
transformed the relationship between state actors and women's movement. With the
return to electoral democracies,3 many governments of the region undertook neoliberal
economic policies reducing state intervention within the economy, cutting welfare
services, privatizing public sectors and opening up trade markets (Gwynne 2004:47).
This economic shift increased the role played by the private sector and by civil society
3 In Latin America the return to the democratic rules took place generally during the 1980s and the 1990s.
organizations, which to some extent replaced and filled the vacuum resulting from the
cutting of social welfare provision. Throughout that decade, a series of UN summits took
place providing new opportunities for women to participate in international debates. At
the same time governments were endorsing commitments to democracy and placing
justice and rights at the forefront of their political agendas. To consolidate the new
democracies, many countries in Latin America created programs supported by
international donors promoting justice, democracy and good governance (Alvarez
2001:365). Finally, regional governments adopted laws promoting women's rights
thereby reflecting their commitment to these democratic principles.
Under those changing political and economic circumstances, the 90s saw the
institutionalization of the Latin American women's movement. New political spaces
emerged with the return of democratic governments; states began to show willingness to
negotiate gender-based demands, providing an opportunity for the feminists to pursue
their gender interests. Through a language based on democracy and citizenship, feminists
embarked on a "rights discourse" seeking to "ensure the continued progression towards
gender equality in the future, by defending the advances achieved and further expanding
women's citizenship rights" (Vargas 2002:203).
The Peruvian Context
This historical background on the Latin American women's movement provides the
regional contextual framework explaining how women became social and political actors;
the Peruvian's women movement emerged under similar political and economic
circumstances. The women's movement in Peru emerged in the late 1970s under General
Morales Bermudez's military government (1975- 1980), which had announced the
transition to democratic government in 1977 (McClintock and Vallas 2003:30). Despite
the fact that Peruvian military governments (1968-1980) were less repressive than other
authoritarian regimes in the region, the military dictatorship in Peru suppressed political
parties and paralyzed democratic institutions while denying some liberties (Barrig
1994:152). In 1976, Bermudez's government adopted a radical program to achieve
economic stabilization, including a reduction in subsidies of food staples and gasoline
that garnered national opposition (McClintock & Vallas 2003:30). While women
involved in grassroots organizations mobilized against the severe economic measures,
feminist groups focused on linking the problems of class and gender, social inequality,
and women's subordination (Blondet 1995:258). During this period of mobilization that
continued throughout the 1980s, a culturally heterogeneous and dynamic women's
movement emerged composed of female political actors ranging from shantytown
activists to middle-class feminists. They combined their efforts to seek improvements in
living conditions, subsidies and food supplies and solutions to domestic violence.
By increasing their political activities and their visibility, the Peruvian women's
movement and particularly the feminist movement played a fundamental role in the
adoption of international declarations and national-level legislation on political
participation, gender discrimination and violence against women. As a result, a number
of demands, such as the Law for Protection from Family Violence and the Quotas Law -
initiated by feminist NGOs during the 1980s were enacted under Alberto Fujimori's
regime in 1993 and 1997, respectively. Indeed, Peru was the first country in the
Americas to adopt a specific law punishing violence against women; many feminists
believed that this legislation has been their most "prized achievement" (Barrig 2001:31).
Although Peru ratified such laws early in the 90s, the government did not create the
"Ministerio de Promoci6n de la Mujer y Desarollo Humano" until 1996 following the
wave of creation of women's institutions regionally.4 However, the Peruvian
government's policies toward women's rights took place under an increasing
authoritarian government, one which was distancing itself from the democratization
process. To some extent this paradoxical context has contributed to women's
advancement in the legal field and will be explored in the following chapter.
The Ratification of the Family Violence Law
Peru's ratification of the Law for Protection from Family Violence took place in a
decade when most Latin American nations implemented a number of steps to address
domestic violence within their borders. Throughout the 90s most of countries in the
Regions ratifyied the U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women
(DEVAW) and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and
Eradication of Violence Against Women. As a result, practically every country in Latin
America has modified their national legislation to punish domestic violence and has
created governmental institutions for the advancement of women's rights. To explain the
processes by which Latin American countries have adopted laws condemning domestic
violence, three different approaches have been taken. The first approach is based on
social movement theory (McAdam 1982, Costain 1992, Jaquette 1994, Elman 1996,
Weldon 2002); the second one is described by international socialization theory (Risse &
Sikkink 1999); the last approach has been studied by Hawkins and Humes (2002) and is a
two-stage model that combines notions from the two previous approaches.
4 For a complete list of when institutions for women were created in Latin America, refer to Table 3 of the
Appendix of Deere and Leon (2001:356).
To explain the impact of women's movements on social policy, the social
movement theory approach draws on the principles of autonomy, co-optation and
political opportunity. Women's movements that enjoy autonomy from both the state and
political parties are more likely to raise consciousness within society and to apply social
pressure that will help change state policies. On the other hand, when political parties or
the state dominate women's movements, the latter become co-opted and are less likely to
raise their concerns in the state political agenda. The autonomy of the women's
movement is not the only variable that influences state policies. Political opportunity is a
key factor that influences a social movement's ability to successfully modify state
policies. The political process model discussed by Doug McAdam (1982) defines a
social movement as the actions of "excluded groups to mobilize sufficient political
leverage to advance collective interests through non-institutionalized means" (McAdam
1982:37). This approach focuses on the political system, indigenous accumulation of
resources, and psychological aspects of movement identification. It also highlights three
essential factors explaining the emergence of a social movement. The first one is the
degree of "organizational readiness" within the minority community; the second, is the
level of 'insurgent consciousness' within the movement; and the third is the "structure of
political opportunities" (McAdam 1982:40). A number of studies on the women's
movement have used this approach (Klein 1984, Katzenstein & Mueller 1987).
Anne Costain (1992) uses a political process model to explain the development of
the women's movement in the United States and the movement's impact on social policy.
Her study shows that the women's movement's policy success depends on the
"receptivity of the political process during the time that potential supporters are
psychologically and organizationally ready to challenge the status quo" and concludes
that the overall success depends on both the heightened consciousness of movement
followers and the structure of political opportunity (Ibid. 1992:XV, 25). According to
political process theory, the balance of power between the government and the women's
movement is also an important indicator of success: If the government is weak, the
movement and the government share a more equal balance of power; thus the movement
is likely to achieve more political strength within the political system, allowing it to
influence the modification of policy (Ibid. 1992).
The international socialization theory is another approach that explains the
ratification of international declarations in terms of the enactment of domestic law.
Martha Finnemore (1996) notes:
We cannot understand what states want without understanding the international
social structure of which they are a part. States are embedded in dense networks of
transnational and international social relations that shape their perceptions of the
world and their role in that world. States are socialized to want certain things by
the international society in which they and the people in them live.
According to Thomas Risse and Kathryn Sikkink (1999), there are three reasons
why a state adopts international norms and applies them domestically:
Adaptation to pressure from powerful states or international organizations; moral
consciousness-raising, argumentation, dialogue, and persuasion arising from the
constant communication between abusive or indifferent governments and their
critics; and institutionalization and habituation, a process that occurs over time after
the first two mechanisms have socialized the state into initial adoption of the norm.
This process of socialization is based on powerful states or transnational networks
that pressure for national policy adoption and overlap with the "boomerang pattern"
discussed by Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink (1998) in their book, Activists Beyond
Borders. The central argument of these scholars is that when "channels of participation"
between states and domestic organizations are blocked or when states do not efficiently
react to national organizations demands, a transnational advocacy networks is likely to
emerge, pressuring governments from the outside to take normative measures that
address the issue (Keck & Sikkink 1998:12-13). The combination of a state closed to
requests from domestic organizations, international organizations acting as allies, and an
open governmental structure in foreign countries generate the boomerang pattern through
which national organizations use international connections or networks to persuade the
state to modify their policies. To illustrate their theory, Keck & Sikkink studied how
national women's groups built transnational women advocacy networks that drew
attention to violence against women, placing the issue on the international public agenda
(Keck & Sikkink 1998:165-198). Through the development of the global campaign for
women's human rights, governments adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of
Violence against Women and the Inter-American Convention for the Prevention,
Punishment and Eradication of Violence, which led to the enactment of national laws
punishing domestic violence. Their analysis provides useful background to the
emergence of transnational women's networks and the development of violence against
women as an international issue. However, their study focuses on the global campaign
developed by women's advocacy networks that led to the adoption of international
conventions. It does not assess how some women's movements have been able to draw
government attention to domestic violence. Their study neither addresses how women's
movements pressure the state for the enactment of national legislation condemning
domestic violence before or simultaneously to the adoption of international conventions.
Finally, Darren Hawkins and Melissa Humes (2002) develop a method that
incorporates the two previous approaches women's movements and international
socialization to explain the ratification of norms condemning domestic violence. The
first phase of the "two-stage model of norm diffusion" is based on the ability of
autonomous activist organizations to raise public awareness about a problem and to
pressure the state by organizing protests within the population. At this stage the opening
of an opportunity within the political system is a fundamental variable that helps activists
to push for policy change. Thus, during the first phase of this process, national women's
movements and political opportunities are the principal factors that pressure the state to
adopt new legislation. The second stage of the model integrates the international
socialization process, where international organizations, states and transnational networks
become more important than domestic activists. Each country at this stage is likely to
adopt norms similar to those already ratified by other countries (Hawkins & Humes 2002:
These three approaches are the principal theories that frame my research on the
enactment of national law condemning domestic violence. I propose using Peru as a test
case to apply the two-stage model of norm diffusion. Through an analysis of the
development of the Peruvian women's movement and the political context of Peru, I plan
to explain how women's movement activities and campaigns were able to apply enough
pressure on the Peruvian government to achieve the ratification of national legislation on
The Implementation of the Family Violence Law
The second part of this study focuses on the changing approach taken by feminist
non-governmental organizations (hereinafter "NGO") to pressure for state accountability
and the enforcement of the Law for Protection from Family Violence. Within a context
of democratic consolidation, justice and good governance, feminist NGOs began to use a
language based on human rights, citizenship and democracy. They lobbied the
government to respect their commitments, worked closely with social movements to
improve programs of legal reforms and increased rights awareness (Molyneux and Lazar
2003: 3). The reasons why NGOs adopted a "rights-based approach" varied with each
case but might also be explained by the changing context in Latin America during the 90s
and by the adoption of international policies (Molyneux & Lazar 2003). The enactment
of international conventions provided support as well as legal instruments for this rights-
based approach, allowing the NGOs to pressure governments of the region to respect
their legal commitments. In the same vein, Macaulay has described this feminist NGO
strategy as a "legalistic approach", which entails focusing on rights while also targeting
state reform and aspects of the criminal justice system, such as access to justice, fair and
efficient legal procedures, and victim protection (Ibid. 2000:156). Moreover, the
emphasis on the criminal justice system was seen as a strategy to force governments to
improve the implementation of social policies and to meet international commitments.
Peruvian feminist NGOs undertook a rights-based discourse during the 90s. One of
their objectives was to pressure the state to enforce national and international legislation
on domestic violence while increasing women's awareness of their rights. However, a
number of obstacles constrained NGOs efforts to address the implementation gap of the
Law for Protection from Family Violence. These obstacles are structural, cultural and
internal. Structural problems are related to the legal system and as such impede adequate
victim protection, constrain sanction efficiency for perpetrators, and result in
investigation delays. In a report published in March 2000, Women's Rights Watch
underscores the Peruvian government's inability to implement national legislation
through the national police, judges, forensic doctors, and state prosecutors. This
document highlights the police's inefficiency in investigating claims made by female
victims and the lack of an adequate report-taking procedure. The report also draws
attention to the inadequacy of medical examinations by forensic doctors, who tend to
minimize women's injuries. Additionally, the report stresses that state prosecutors are
understaffed and that they resolve domestic cases by favoring spousal conciliation over
judicial prosecution. Finally, the report condemns these institutional actors for not using
protective measures to shield victims of domestic violence from their abusers. Although
this report did not discuss the Peruvian patriarchal society, cultural obstacles are still
present in Peru. The results of my research show that "justice operators5" apply the law
based on their personal biases toward domestic violence. Finally, NGO's rights-based
approach and the relationship developed with Peruvian government also impeded to some
extent the enforcement of the law. By adopting such a conventional strategy, NGOs
became more involved within the governmental process. This switch to a more
traditional approach has proved challenging for feminist NGOs.
Therefore, these structural, cultural and internal factors frequently constrained the
daily application of the law. Notwithstanding the evolution of women's formal rights,
violence and oppression against women continue to impede the full exercise of equality,
liberty, equal political participation, and personal security. Women are still considered
second-class citizens (Hernandez 1997). In the second part of my research, I propose to
analyze how feminist NGOs in Peru have used the right-based approach to tackle the
5 "Justice operator" is the translation for operatorr de justicia."
problem of implementation of the Domestic Violence Law and how they have worked to
improve the legislation making the law enforceable.
* How did the women's movement effectively pressure Peruvian authorities to
address the problem of domestic violence and adopt the Law for Protection from
* What are the major structural, cultural and internal obstacles that stand in the way
of the actual implementation of the Law for Protection from Family Violence?
* How did feminist NGOs use the rights-based approach to address the
implementation gap, thus, forcing the government to respect their national legal
Violence against women: According to the Article 1 of the Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence Against Women (DEVAW) the term "violence against women"
means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical,
sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts,
coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
Violence against women includes, but is not limited to, the following:6
(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including
battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence,
marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women,
non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;
(b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general
community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in
educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;
6 Article 2 DEVAW
(c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the
State, wherever it occurs.
Women's movement: A broad definition of the women's movement suggests that
it "is understood as the whole spectrum of conscious and unconscious action of
individuals, groups or organizations with the aim of combating gender subordination"
(Vargas & Wieringa 1998:4). The women's movement may suggest a unified movement,
however it is "characterized by a diversity of interests, form of expression and spatial
location" (Molyneux 2001: 144). For example, the Peruvian women's movement
includes different currents such as the grassroots organizations, feminist groups and
political militants (Blondet 1995).
This study is comprised of bibliographic research conducted at the University of
Florida and at the library of the Centro de la Mujer Peruana Flora Tristan in addition to
fieldwork carried out from May 2004 to June 2004 in Lima, Peru. There I conducted
semi-structured interviews with actors linked to the implementation of national
legislation on domestic violence. I developed semi-structured interview guides for
different categories of people that I interviewed. This qualitative method is based on a
clear plan that you keep in mind, but is also characterized by a minimum of control over
the respondent's responses" (Bernard 2000:191). According to Bernard, semi-
unstructured interviewing is useful for studying sensitive issues like sexuality, race, or
ethnic prejudice. For this reason, I believe that this method is useful for studying
implementation problems linked to the Law for Protection from Family Violence.
The persons interviewed for the purpose of this study were key agents involved in
domestic violence cases: the captains of the women's police stations in Lima, Villa
Salvador and at the Women Emergency Center (Lima), the captain of the national police
station in Surquillo (Lima), a forensic doctor, a state prosecutor, a criminal judge, the
coordinator of the Women Emergency Center in Lima, a representative from the Ministry
of Education, the director of the program on domestic violence established by the
Ministry for Women and Social Development, the coordinator of the reproductive rights
program for the Ombudswomen in charge of women's rights, two lawyers and two
activists from the "Centro de la Mujer Peruana Flora Tristan," a lawyer from the
"Movimiento Manuela Ramos," the coordinator of CLADEM, a lawyer and the
coordinator working for DEMUS. My thesis draws also on the study "Violencia Familiar
y Sexual: Diagn6stico sobre Servicios de Atenci6n," which was carried out in 2003 by
the NGOs "Centro de la Mujer Peruana Flora Tristan," and "the Movimento Manuela
Ramos." The interviews conducted represent the personal views of each of the
participants and in my analysis I do not attempt to generalize their views.
Outline of Chapters
Chapter 2 explores how the Peruvian women's movement over the two last
decades has worked to pressure the government to adopt laws that condemn violence
against women. By tracing the evolution of the feminist movement and the context in
which the Peruvian government addressed the problem of domestic violence, I will show
how Peruvian women have been able to influence Peru's ratification of the Law for
Protection from Family Violence.
Chapter 3 is based on the field research conducted in Peru. I will explore how
feminist NGOs are using the right-based approach to reduce the implementation gap
between national legislation and women's daily realities. In this chapter I examine the
structural, cultural and internal problems that impede the enforcement of the Law for
Protection from Family Violence.
Finally, in chapter 4 I will present the main results of this study and future avenues
of research to address the issue of domestic violence.
FAMILY VIOLENCE LAW IN PERU: A TWO-STAGE MODEL OF NORM
Introduction to the Two-Stage Model
Ending violence against women began to be addressed early in the 1980s by the
Peruvian women's movement as well as all over Latin America. The Peruvian women's
movement organized many activities to gain legal recognition of the problem despite the
lack of international legal instruments to support their demands for a law sanctioning
domestic violence. In 1993, Peru was the first country in all of Latin America to adopt a
norm against domestic violence. By using the two-stage model of norm diffusion, the
objective of this chapter is to analyze the series of steps that led to the ratification of the
law for Protection from Family Violence in Peru (hereinafter family Violence Law).
Darren Hawkins and Melissa Humes (2002) use the two-stage model of norm diffusion to
explain legal initiatives that have been taken to condemn domestic violence by most
governments in Latin American throughout the 90s. Their conceptual framework
identifies distinct time periods: one in which the women's movement played a crucial
role in the ratification of the national domestic violence law and the other when
international socialization was the principal impetus for the adoption of legislation.
The two-stage model of norm diffusion used by Hawkins and Humes is built on a
study carried out by Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink (1998) who analyzed the
efforts made by national activists or "norm entrepreneurs" to transpose or transform a
national norm into international legislation. They argue that "domestic influences are
strongest at the early stage of a norm's life cycle, and domestic influences lessen
significantly once a norm has become institutionalized in the international system"
(Finnemore & Sikkink 1998:893). According to these authors, the "norm life cycle" can
be conceptualized in three stages: norm emergence, norm acceptance and
Norm emergence is the first phase during which activist groups or "norm
entrepreneurs" try to persuade and convince "norm leaders" or key states to ratify a new
norm; it corresponds to the first phase of the two-stage model of norm diffusion.
According to the conceptual framework of Hawkins and Humes, "leader states" are those
which possess an autonomous women's movement able to exploit political opportunities
while generating political discussion about the issue of domestic violence. In Latin
America, leader states adopted domestic violence legislation either before or about the
same time as the norm was ratified internationally, through the Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence Against Women (DEVAW) in June 1993 (Hawkins & Humes
2002:245). The following sections particularly addresses the norm emergence stage.
Norm acceptance is the second stage of the norm life cycle and corresponds to the
second part of Hawkins and Humes' model in which state leaders, transnational networks
and international organizations attempt to "socialize" other states to become norm
followers; international socialization processes become more important than national
activists. Until this "tipping point", national movement activists that promote normative
changes are the major actor for policy change. Tipping is described as being the stage
"after norm entrepreneurs have persuaded a critical mass of states to become norm
leaders and adopt new norms"; it rarely occurs before one-third of the total states in the
system adopt the norm (Finnemore & Sikkink 1998:901). Once the tipping point has
been reached, a new dynamic takes place and more countries begin to adopt the norm
even without national pressure, bringing in the second phase of the two-stage model of
norm diffusion: norm acceptance. Finnemore and Sikkink argue that norm acceptance is
promoted by international socialization in which "agents of socialization" such as leader
states, transnational networks and international organizations become new actors
pressuring other states to adopt new policies (Ibid. 1998:902). Agents of socialization
attempt to persuade other states to become "followers" by promoting the norms through
discourse or through economic incentives or penalties. Legitimization, conformity and
esteem are other incentives that motivate follower states to adopt new norms or policies.
Thus during this stage international socialization and transnational activities are more
important than national activists, though they might continue to play an important role.
Transnational women advocacy networks have played an important role in
pressuring states to adopt domestic violence legislation in many countries in Latin
America. While women advocacy networks consolidated their foundations other
international organs also worked to address the issue, helping the women's movement in
legitimizing their demands. For instance, the Feminist Encounters for Latin America and
the Caribbean along with a series of UN conferences provided impetus to an important
number of countries developing measures against domestic violence. In addition, Latin
American women's groups have been important activists in coordinating regional
networks such as the Southern Cone Network against Domestic and Sexual Violence and
the Latin American and Caribbean Network against Domestic and Sexual Violence with
subregional coordinators in Peru and other countries in Latin America (Keck and Sikkink
1998:179-180). As a result, "follower states" adopted legislation on violence against
women between 1995-1998. They did so in a context where the norm had been adopted
regionally through the Inter-American Convention for the Prevention, Punishment and
Eradication of Violence Against Women ratified by the Organization of American States
members in 1994.
Finally, "internationalization" is the third stage of the norm life cycle and occurs
when norms acquire a taken-for-granted quality and are no longer part of the public
debate (Finnemore & Sikkink 1998:895). Since this phase is not included in the two-
stage model of norm diffusion and because norms on domestic violence in most of
countries in Latin America have not reached this phase, internationalization will not
receive further discussion.
The two-stage model of norm diffusion of Hawkins and Humes is the conceptual
framework that I will use to address the adoption of the Family Violence Law in Peru.
Although international organizations, transnational networks and international meetings
had a positive influence, the results of my research show that the Peruvian women's
movement and their national activities had a greater impact on the adoption of the Family
Violence legislation. For this reason, I will focus on the first phase of the two-stage
model of norm diffusion. Before applying the conceptual framework of Hawkins and
Humes, I will turn now to a more detailed description of the variables included in the
norm emergence stage.
In the first stage of norm emergence, activist groups try to conceptualize a new
norm for desirable behavior in their community. At this point the groups may or might
not communicate transnationally with activists concerned by similar issues. To promote
norm ratification, norm entrepreneurs or activist groups encourage the ideals of empathy
and altruism and begin a long process of persuading international organizations and states
to ratify the proposed norms (Finnemore & Sikkink 1998:898). The absence of
international norms at this phase allows "leader states" to emerge and to enact a norm
before it receives widespread international acceptance through international declarations
(Hawkins & Humes 2002:241). During the norm emergence phase, activists are the main
actors. Their success or ability to convince the state to embrace new norms condemning
violence against women depends on two determinant factors: autonomy and political
The Concept of Autonomy
The principle of autonomy emerged as an issue for the women's movement with
the second wave of feminism during the 1970s and early 1980s. Disenchanted with
authoritarian and male institutions or organizations, women activists decided to create
autonomous organizations independent from political parties, the state, or from other
groups in the society. Molyneux argues that "autonomous organizations (...) are
characterized by independent actions, where women organize on the basis of self activity,
set their own goals, and decide their own forms of organizations and must recognize no
superior authority, nor be subject to the governance of other political agencies (Molyneux
1998:70). In the same vein, Weldon describes women's movement autonomy as when
they have an organizational basis external to political parties, or other organizations such
as unions or even from organizations that do not make women's issues their first concern
(Weldon 2002:80). The principle of autonomy has been also explained as a "process
enabling women to express and prioritize their interests more clearly" and has become a
political strategy that allows women's negotiation with other political actors (Vargas &
Wieringa 1998:8). Autonomy allows the development and the consolidation of women's
own agenda and to put forward their ideas when they interact with the society and the
Today, many scholars still identify women's movement autonomy as an important
component for policy change (Elman 1996, Vargas & Olea 1997, Vargas 2002, Weldon
2002). In a comparative study of the impact of the women's movement in the United
States and Sweden with respect to the adoption of domestic violence policy, Amy Elman
(1996) concludes that government response to violence against women, and the adoption
of a law protecting battered women, depends on the articulation of the issue by a strong
autonomous women's movement. Elman observed that American feminists who pursued
an agenda through an autonomous women's movement were able to pressure the state
from the outside to adopt a law that would protect battered women. On the other hand,
Swedish feminists relied upon the traditional political system, such as partisan alliances
and state bureaucracies, to press for women's interests. The strategy was less successful
and the government did not articulate effective policies on violence against women.
In a cross-national comparison of eight countries that enacted policies on violence
against women, Laurel Weldon (2002) also argues also that government responsiveness is
likely to be determined by the presence of a strong, autonomous women's movement that
draws on and reinforces state institutions designed to promote the status of women.
Weldon considers that a strong and autonomous women's movement is able to create
enough awareness through their actions and discourses, receiving public attention from
government and among people that are not movement members. In the same vein,
Hawkins and Humes note that when women's groups are autonomous from the state or
political parties they will be able to more effectively raise public consciousness about the
issue and to push for policy change (Ibid. 2002:233).
Awareness generally begins with small consciousness-raising groups where women
begin to discuss their gender oppression. In the United States feminist groups began to
raise awareness through small-scale mutual aid projects or community service projects
that helped women develop solidarity, education and activism outside the political realm
(Elman 1996:25). Such initiatives helped change women's attitudes, and their
assumptions about gender domination in their daily lives. Carol Mueller (1988) argues
that developing consciousness among women helps to sustain the political force of the
movement. Women's cultural production such as magazines, books, movies, TV
programs, theater, and more conventional strategies or "protest politics" such as street
protests, marches, petitions and lobbying foster discussion of violence against women
among the population (Weldon 2002:69-70). The various tactics articulated by
autonomous women movement raise awareness within the population, and serve to
translate their agenda into the public policy arena.
The autonomy of the women's movement is therefore key to the development of
government policy on violence against women because it allows those groups to
articulate a perspective based on their reality as women. Being involved in autonomous
groups allow the women's movement to focus on their gender priorities and "to elaborate
their own programs of actions, debate their own goals, tactics and strategy free from
outside influence (Molyneux 1998:70). Autonomy and independence also permit the
women's movement to distribute resources in a way that draws public attention on their
particular matters. However, according to some scholars (Jaquette 1994, Hawkins and
Humes 2002, Weldon 2002) while a strong autonomous women's movement is necessary
for the initial articulation of violence against women as a public issue, it is not sufficient
to determine the impact on policy and to provoke a government response. Autonomy
alone is a weak strategy and is likely to result in women's organizations' being denied the
resources they need (Jaquette 1994:232). Thus, another fundamental variable is
necessary to the process of policy change in the context of domestic violence law. I turn
now to the notion of political opportunity, the second factor necessary within the
theoretical framework that I draw upon.
Autonomy and consciousness arising are necessary but not sufficient to the
development of policy changes. The second requirement is "political opportunity." In
the two-stage model process, political opportunity refers to "any event or broad process
that serves to undermine the calculations and assumptions on which the political
establishment is structured occasions a shift in political opportunities (McAdam
1982:41). In her research on the impact of the women's movement on policy, Costain
(1982:15) describes political opportunities as determined by the openness of the political
system to new interests, the instability of the regime, the women's movement's ability to
reach allies and supporters, and the psychological readiness of excluded members.
Political opportunity structure allows activists to push for changes in state policy and it is
linked to the opening of a political opportunity, elite alliances, the presence of allies
within the state, and the state's repressive capacity.
The openness of the political system "increases political activism on the part of
excluded groups either by seriously undermining the stability of the entire political
system or by increasing the political leverage of a single insurgent group" (McAdam
1982:42). Hawkins and Humes mention that a "policy window" may occur when crises
generate a need for a political solution. Examples included economic decline, or an
important shift in state political power. During such periods policy propositions
promoted by activists may reach the top of the political agenda as decision makers search
for solutions to the crisis or for new ideas to distinguish themselves from previous office
holders (Hawkins and Humes 2002:241). In that phase, activist proposals are more likely
to receive a serious consideration from the state, which appears willing to engage in
debates on different issues.
The following section applies the two-stage model of norm diffusion to
demonstrate the strategies taken by the Peruvian feminist movement to press for
legislative changes under a context of political opportunity.
Application of the Two-Stage Model to Peru
Peru has ratified most of the international conventions concerning women's rights
and has taken a number of initiatives to address discrimination and violence against
women. In 1982, Peru ratified the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Following Brazil's initiative, the Peruvian
government established in 1988 the first women's police stations in Lima. In 1993 the
Family Violence Law was adopted as well as the Declaration on the Elimination of
Violence against Women. In 1996 Peru ratified the Inter-American Convention for the
Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence, created the Women's Rights
division within the Office of the Peoples' Ombudsman and established the Ministry of
Advancement of Women and Human Development (PROMUDEH). The Family
Violence Law was modified in 1997 and, in 1999 PROMUDEH1 inaugurated the first
Women Emergency Center for victims of domestic violence where women can consult
with female police officers, medical examiners, and state prosecutors. Finally, in 2001,
Peru adopted the National Plan on Violence Against Women 2002-2007.
The Peruvian women's movement has played an important role in the ratification
of these international conventions, and in the development of these national governmental
initiatives. Moreover, by pressuring the government to adopt a norm that would recognize
the magnitude of domestic violence and penalize it, the Peruvian women's movement has
been involved in one of the most important achievements realized by women in the
country. Throughout the 80s and early 90s, the women's movement has taken an active
and fundamental role in redefining a once private and familial matter into a public and
The following section provides a brief historical review of the demands made by
the women's movement in the 80s, highlighting how it was specifically the feminists that
first draw public attention on violence against women. I will further apply the two-stage
model of norm diffusion to Peru to illustrate how the autonomy of the women's
movement and the political opportunity play out in the Peruvian case.
The Feminist Movement: a Key Actor
The end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s brought women together by the
emergence of the political Left, the feminist discourse, the problem of reproduction under
condition of poverty, the economic collapse and the social crisis it entailed (Barrig 1994
and Blondet 1995). Those issues affected women differently and created a women's
1Recently, the name of the "Ministerio de Promoci6n de la Mujer y Desarollo Humano" has been changed
for the "Ministerio de la Mujer y del Desarollo Social.
movement composed of three principal actors: party activists, grassroots organizations,
and feminist groups. Sometimes working together and sometimes working separately
women took the streets voicing their demands on issues that affected their condition as
women, as mothers, or both. The general popular effervescence generated by street
mobilization, strikes and the intense political activity in Peru at that particular time
helped to create a belief that political and social change were possible.
The female party activists were mostly composed of female university students on
the political New Left, which was trying to strengthen ties to grassroots organizations to
consolidate a basis for their political party (Blondet 1995:260). At first, women activist's
principal interests were oriented toward class struggle and were not concerned by
women's needs and daily realities. They sought to increase women's political
consciousness by defending traditional party projects without making connection to
issues such as male political dominance and other women's concerns. Violence against
women was not an initial preoccupation of those activists. However, over time women
party activists became aware of their own marginality and lack of voice within the party
(Barrig 1994 and Blondet 1995).
Grassroots organizations composed of women from the lower strata of the urban
society were concerned with issues such as health, economic needs and family wellbeing.
Through grassroots organizations, such as the communal kitchen or the municipal Glass
of Milk Program that aimed to distribute one glass of milk a day to children and pregnant
and breast-feeding women, women mobilized on the basis of their traditional gender roles
within the domestic sphere. By their engagement in daily and self-help strategy women's
grassroots organizations provided short-term and temporary solutions compensating for
the lack of services that should have been offered by the state: these grassroots
organizations did no try to resolve and confront long-term problems of gender
relationship, class struggle or the "inefficient and unequal redistributive capacity of the
state" (Barrig 1994:166). Women from shantytown organizations mobilized based on
their own "practical gender interests", which are defined as "a response to an immediate
perceived need" and did not generally attempt to challenge women's emancipation or
gender equality (Molyneux 2001:44). Although they reflect women's daily and
immediate experiences, practical gender interests do not aim to challenge women's
subordination and might reinforce women's traditional role within the society.
By focusing on the family as the fundamental unit in women's life, shantytown
organizations did not attempt initially to resolve and assess gender violence problems.
However, through those groups women learned to speak and to express their thoughts,
ideas and opinions while realizing that other woman were living in similar situations. By
participating in such organizations, women shared solidarity, cooperation, learned to
perform new tasks, and began to confront and negotiate with their husbands who did not
look favorably on their wives working outside the home (Vargas 1989:89-91). By being
involved in such organizations, victims of violence began to express themselves about
their personal situation. According to my interviews, by 1985 women active within
shantytown organizations and "pobladores" were having group discussions regarding the
issue of domestic violence.2
Over time women participating in political parties and in grassroots organizations
became aware of a number of issues affecting them, and grew sensitive to the issue of
2 Author's interview with a lawyer from the Flora Tristan Center,Lima, May 19, 2004.
domestic violence. By their participation in marches, protests or workshops, those
women provided an important support for the struggle on violence against women.
However, based on the initial claims of those women involved in political parties and
survival groups, violence against women was firstly address by feminist groups.
As in other countries in Latin America, the United Nations Decade for Women
and the democratization process stimulated the re-emergence of the feminist movement.
Feminist groups mobilized based on their "strategic gender interests" which are those
linked with the analysis of women's subordination. Their focus has been strategies to
overcome the sexual division of labor, control of their reproduction, the alleviation of the
burden of domestic labor and childcare, the removal of institutionalized forms of
discrimination, political equality, and ending gender violence (Molyneux 2001:43).
Different studies have demonstrated that the Latin American feminist movement was the
first actor to articulate the issue of the violence against women, building the foundations
that entailed grassroots mobilizations (Elman 1996, Molyneux 2001, Weldon 2002).
Based on my interviews, Peruvian feminists have been the first actors involved in
pressuring the government to acknowledge a policy that would recognize domestic
violence as a public concern. For this reason, in this study I focus on leader groups that
brought about policy change regarding domestic violence rather than mass behavior or
grassroots support. The adoption of measures to assess male violence and control over
women were part of the objectives of feminist groups and are the point of departure to
trace how the feminist movement throughout years influenced Peruvian authorities to
adopt the Family Violence Law. I will now turn to the application of the two-stage
model of norm diffusion to explain the adoption of the law on domestic violence in Peru.
The Development of Autonomy and Consciousness in Peru
In Peru, feminist groups adopted the principle of autonomy during the early 80s as
an essential political strategy to establish independence at the organizational and
ideological levels. As noted by Virginia Vargas, autonomy allowed the creation of a
political space based on gender interests, further allowing women to develop a collective
consciousness that made visible the oppressed situation experienced by them.
Subsequently, this allowed them to avoid and decrease the rises of cooptation by
patriarchal institution (Vargas 1989:26-27). For the Peruvian feminist movement,
autonomy represented the core of the democratic project, which would enable women to
determine their own actions and create their own political alternatives (Vargas and Olea
1997:41). During the 80s, feminists were practicing a "defensive autonomy"
characterized by confrontation with the authorities, as they grew stronger as a movement
and individually. In 1981, the First Latin American Feminist Encounter in Bogota,
labeled "Por la reafirmaci6n de la autonomia feminist y su compromise con la realidad
continental" recognized and reiterated the need for an autonomous movement (Salazar
2001:184). In 1983, the defense of autonomy came to the forefront during the Second
Latin American Feminist Encounter held in Lima, which highlighted feminists' criticisms
of conventional politics and machismo in political parties. Moreover, this Encounter
created a division between feminists and female party activists.
Before these encounters, feminist organizations (such as Flora Tristan, the Manuela
Ramos Movement, Women in Struggle, and the Women's Socialist Front) had an agenda
that highlighted women's participation in the class struggle, and they often consisted of
militants affiliated to Left parties (Salazar 2001:165-168). These feminist organizations
practiced socialist feminism, which links the problem of class and gender by recognizing
social inequality while at the same time focusing on women's subordination (Blondet
1995:258). However, during the Second Feminist Encounter, Peruvian feminists
declared themselves "feministas a secas" and stopped adopting a socialist approach. By
orienting themselves as part of a more radical struggle to improve women's lives,
feminists hoped to distinguish themselves from other institutions as well as national
political activity. As mentioned, this decision led to the establishment of two feminist
currents with two different fields of action. The Leftist feminist political party militants
claimed that feminist activists were abandoning the class struggle and were loosing their
political identity. Those militants decided, instead, to concentrate their participation on
preparing governmental programs aimed at reducing poor women's marginalization
(Blondet 1995:259). The feminist activists identified as "bourgeois" by left politicians,
concentrated on building an autonomous movement that would heighten women's
awareness regarding the oppressiveness of patriarchal power. This new way of "doing
politics" involved questioning traditional political action and was considered an approach
to overcome women's oppression in the private and public spheres (Vargas 1989:76).
However, the concept of autonomy had some limits, which was demonstrated in
1985 when two feminists participated as independent candidates in the general elections
for President and as members of parliament (Barrig 1994:164). By running solely on
strategic gender interests (such as gender equality, sexual and gendered violence, control
of reproduction, and sexual division of labor), feminist candidates did not garner enough
resonance among women from grassroots organizations; as such, neither candidate was
elected. Indeed, the feminist movement realized the need to create deeper alliances with
women's grassroots organizations and to build stronger ties with women from other
sectors (Vargas 1989: 83).
Raising consciousness among women has always been part of the original
objectives since the emergence of feminist organizations. By the end of the 70s, the
Flora Tristan Center for the Peruvian Woman, the Manuela Ramos Movement, Women in
Struggle, and the Women's Socialist Front were developing small informal groups called
"Centros de Acci6n y Promoci6n." These groups were designed to take action on
particular issues and to raise consciousness concerning women's oppression and
exclusion from the economic, political and social arena (Vargas 1989:97). The three
fundamental issues that accompanied the emergence of the feminist movement at that
time were political participation, ending with domestic violence, and sexual and
All feminist NGOs mentioned that during the 80s, feminist activists aimed to make
violence against women more visible; to highlight gendered power relations within the
private sphere; and to transfer what was considered a private family issue into the public
arena. In other words, feminists' main goal was to achieve public recognition of
domestic violence and to raise consciousness about the problem. By adopting the phrase,
"the personal is the political" feminists attempted to bring together personal and political
dimensions in order to transform women's daily reality (Vargas 1989:78). In order to
address domestic violence and to raise public consciousness, feminists undertook
different initiatives such as "cultural productions", "protest politics", and "everyday
politics." (Weldon 2002:68-70)
3 Author's interview with an activist from the Flora Tristan Center, Lima, June 2, 2004.
The first significant political action organized by feminist groups followed the first
Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encounter, which designated November 25th as
the International Day Against Violence Against Women. On November 25, 1981
Peruvian feminist groups in Lima organized the first march for the "Dia de No Mas
Violencia Contra la Mujer." This march brought together 300 women, who came to
protest violence within the household and to denounce sexual harassment, torture in
prison, violence towards prostitutes, and women's marginalization (Salazar 2001:185).
According to activists of the period, this protest became the first feminist public
manifestation that delivered concrete outcomes for feminists in Peru (Vargas and Olea
1997:29). To further protest and denounce violence against women, the feminist
movement supported additional international days on violence against women and
organized different activities, such as music festivals, marches, panels, poetry readings,
and drawing competitions. In particular, feminists used many cultural productions to
make public their ideology and to raise public consciousness about different women's
issues. In 1980, the first feminist magazine, Women and Society was published in order
to stress women's oppression and exploitation. The magazine editors organized photo
expositions entitled "Mujeres Ven a Mujeres", and in 1984, the magazine "Viva",
published by Flora Tristan, was first published (Salazar 2001:178, 195).
Feminists also interwove themes of violence against women into campaigns, public
discourses and workshops. In the period 1985 to 1990, the feminist movement broadened
their social bases and strengthened their relationships with grassroots organizations by
taking part in their activities, such as with the Urban Women's Popular Movement. In
1987, the feminists organized the first National Feminist Encounter where women from
different social sectors attended workshops on power and violence, state policies, the
political conjuncture, and perspectives of the feminist movement (Vargas and Olea
1997:32). In another campaign in the mid-1980s, entitled "Breaking the Silence",
women were invited to discuss and denounce violence. This particular activity strove to
enhance awareness regarding violence against women and through "speak-outs" women
were encouraged to stand up and tell their story of victimization in a public forum.
According to a DEMUS activist, this campaign's mobilization led to the creation of the
first women police office in Lima in 1988.4 In 1989, the Flora Tristan Center signed an
agreement with the Ministry of the Interior to provide workshops on domestic violence to
female officers and to establish legal orientation within women's police stations.
Collaboration with women's police stations regarding violence against women allowed
the Flora Tristan Center to observe police work, to visualize the problem, and
subsequently, to use their observations to create law.5
The development of feminist efforts (including campaigns, political action,
discourses and ideology) allowed feminist groups to discuss the formulation of a bill that
would condemn violence against women. The World Conference of Women held in
Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985 was the first international condemnation of violence against
women. As such, it helped feminist groups to strengthen their position on violence and to
develop a law that would assure battered women access to the judicial system. Moreover,
the Flora Tristan Center, the Manuela Ramos Movement, the Aurora Vivar Association,
4 Author's interview realized with the coordinator of DEMUS, Lima, May 28, 2004.
5 Author's interview realized with a lawyer from the Flora Tristan Center, Lima, May 19, 2004. To some
extent, the agreement between the Flora Tristan Center and the Ministry of Interior led to an incursion into
electoral politics, aiming to increase political action on domestic violence punishment.
and Women and Society began to formulate domestic violence legislation with the hope
of having President Alan Garcia (1985-1990) approve it. Even though feminists were
aware that some European countries were only just beginning to discuss domestic
violence legislation, Peruvian women's groups drew up their first bill condemning
domestic violence on their own without being able to refer to international texts or
legislation and without strong support from international women's networks (Hawkins
and Humes 2002:247). However, the Garcia government paid little attention to feminist
demands and was more concerned with the economic crisis that ravaged Peru at that time.
The previous reconstruction of the activities organized by the feminist movement
highlights importance of the autonomy of the feminist movement and its impact on the
women's movement. The concept of autonomy has always created conflict within the
women's movement in Peru as well as in many countries in Latin America. The division
between the feminist "bourgeois" and the Leftist feminist militants had an impact on the
strength and the autonomy of the feminist movement. Despite this division, I believe that
throughout the 80s the movement has been able to gain important levels of autonomy and
mobilization because of the consciousness developed among women, particularly those in
grassroots organizations. The Peruvian feminist movement has been able to maintain
their autonomy regarding political parties and other governmental institutions, which
allowed them to develop actions to pressure the state on strategic concerns (such as
domestic violence) and to draft legislation on their own.
These initiatives demonstrate that feminist groups have been the first actors to
work on domestic violence. Through their activities they reached a larger segment of the
women's movement that soon became aware of the problematic and became involved in
the struggle on domestic violence. Moreover, according to the feminist organizations
interviewed for the present study, the most important achievement of the feminist
movement in the 80s was the rise in consciousness regarding violence against women
within the household and, subsequently, the public sphere. By claiming the private
dimension as a political one, feminists have been able to label issues that take place in the
private sphere (such as gendered power relationships, sexuality and violence against
feminists) as being political concerns that need to be addressed by institutions. As one
participant from the Flora Tristan Center mentioned, "the main realization in terms of
violence against women has been to gain access to the public space and to denounce such
violence (...); the second achievement has been to make the state accountable for a social
problem that it is not only a personal issue; finally the feminist movement allowed
women to break the silence on their personal situation.6" I, thus, believe that the
autonomy of the feminist movement allowed sufficient awareness about domestic
violence to develop as proved through their actions and discourses to increase
consciousness among women and society, in general. I will turn now to the political
opportunities that helped women push for legislation on domestic violence.
Political Opportunities Under Fujimori's Government
In early 1990, the feminist coalition working on the advancement of the domestic
violence law created FORO-MUJER to open discussion with female parliamentary
members about preoccupations on women's problems. The objectives of FORO-MUJER
were to influence decisions taken at the legislative and executive levels. As such, the
goals included creating a political agenda of legal initiatives that would favor women's
6 Author's interview with an activist from the Flora Tristan, Lima, June 2, 2004.
rights concerning increasing women's political participation; the elaboration of non-
discriminatory politics; the acknowledgement of autonomous women's organizations; the
right to participate in politics; and equal access to labor (Vargas and Olea 1997: 33). By
diversifying their interactions with women to include those from other political positions,
feminist groups developed strategic alliances with female legislators and women in high-
level positions within the state. By overcoming their political differences feminists,
Congresswomen and women from the public administration interacted in a "triangle of
empowerment" aiming to promote women's claims, to transform them into policy issues
and to expand politic support for their gender agenda (Vargas and Wieringa 1998:3).
One of the first issues discussed within FORO-MUJER was violence against women.
In February 1991, FORO-MUJER met with Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori to
discuss the government's position towards the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women, which had been ratified by Peru in 1982.
Among the different issues discussed during that meeting, FORO-MUJER reaffirmed the
importance of considering violence against women as a crime against life and stressed the
need to work on penal reform protecting battered women. During those years, FORO-
MUJER developed a bill entitled "Violence against Women" that was promoted in
Congress primarily by Congresswomen Lourdes Flores of the Popular Christian Party.
To promote the bill, feminist groups also used other strategies such as TV spots,
interviews on television, and investigations, while at the same time working at the
Author's interview realized with an activist from the Manuela Ramos Movement, Lima, May 20, 2004.
grassroots level (i.e. providing workshops to female victims, national police, public
authorities and state prosecutors).8
Under paradoxical circumstances resulting from the transition to an anti-democratic
framework, a window of opportunity finally began to appear on April 5, 1992. It was
then that Alberto Fujimori announced what many have called an "autogolpe", or self-
inflicted coup, in a 22- minute television address saying:
The country should understand that the temporary and partial suspension of the
existing legality is not a denial of real democracy and I will reorganize the
government for an honest and efficient administration of justice (Washington Post
April 6, 1992).
Promising to build a "true democracy" through a "Government of Emergency and
National Reconstruction", Fujimori's "autogolpe" attempted to impose radical changes
on the government's structure: to provide greater legislative efficacy; to end judicial
corruption; to modernize the state bureaucracy; to end drug trafficking and terrorism
generated by the Shining Path guerilla movement; and to continue the implementation of
a free market economy (Rochabrun 1996:4). Fujimori then suspended the 1979
Constitution, arrested several opposition leaders, disbanded Congress, and dismantled the
Great pressure from the international financial community, the United States, and
the Organization of the American States caused Fujimori, however, to curb his position.
During a meeting with all OAS members, Fujimori promised that within five months he
would hold elections for a Constitutional Congressional Assembly, which would include
political opponents that will have the power to pass law, and he would rewrite the
country's constitution (Hockstader 1992). Political opportunity for women to place their
concerns within the public agenda arose during the Congressional elections held in
November of 1992.
All the political parties were divided on their participation in the election and, as a
result, became fragmented into a dozen different groups. They were not able to generate
a clear statement, nor could they achieve a high electoral score (McClintock 1993:119).
Paradoxically, the division among the political parties provided some important
opportunities for feminist groups because it "brought the independent organizations back
into the political limelight" (Barrig 1998:110). The abstention of the main political
parties and political leaders in this election ensured the participation of a number of
unknown movements and community groups. The number of independent participants
also rose because voters lost confidence in political parties and their capacity to act as
efficient channels between the state and the population (Blondet 2002). Both the absence
and the weakness of political parties helped the feminists to put the issue of domestic
violence on the public agenda at a time when traditional means of participation and
expression were denied by Fujimori's regime. It is paradoxical that during such a period
where democracy was repressed that feminist achieved the enactment of the Family
Violence Law.9 During that period, women leaders received more media attention: they
were filmed, photographed, and interviewed. All this allowed feminists to make their
demands more visible to the public as well as members of congress (Barrig 1998:111).
These circumstances opened up opportunities for feminist groups and congresswomen to
9 Even more paradoxical is the fact that Fujimori's authoritarian regime has done more than any of his
predecessors in terms of enacting women's policies and creating institutions for women. Moreover, he was
the only president of the world to attend the Beijing Conference in 1995, publicly defending women's
rights. Barrig (2001:34) and Vargas (2002:213) argue that the adoption of such legal measure under an
authoritarian context undermine the victories realized by feminists because the law was ratified to fit with
Fujimori's machinations rather than having a real impact on women's life. As such the law defends the
family unit rather than gender violence.
place their demands concerning domestic violence legislation at the top of the public
agenda. The combination of this political opportunity and feminists' efforts led to
Congress' approving the Family Violence Law in December 1993.10
The absence of major political parties is one of the factors that may explain
Congress' ratification of the law. Other elements previously discussed are also relevant.
As I mentioned, political opportunities may be described by political openness to new
interests, instability of the regime, allies' influence, and supporters' psychological
readiness to push for common claims. The year following Fujimori's "autogolpe" was a
year of intense economic and political instability. Fujimori held Congressional elections
in order to legitimize his government within the international community as well as
within the national population. Internationally, Fujimori was concerned about receiving
economic aid and reestablishing his international reputation. And nationally, the
President hoped to minimize political opposition that might impede the implementation
of his structural reforms. In general, the regime's instability created a favorable context
for feminists' demands, and it partly explains why Fujimori's government was receptive
to new issues such as domestic violence.
Under this context of authoritarism and instability, Fujimori was trying to reinforce
his position; women's electorate potential appeared to be a great strategy. Women from
grassroots organizations represented important political support base that could help
legitimize Fujimori's government. As Costain (1992) mentions, women's block of votes
began to attract attention, making politicians consider strategically the value of appealing
10 The official name for the Family Violence Law is the "Ley de Protecci6n Frente a la Violencia Familiar"
(the Law for Protection from Family Violence) and it is also referred as the Law No. 26260. The Law No.
26763 adopted important amendments to the Law No. 26260 in June 1997.
to women. Alberto Fujimori, thus, had personal interests in embracing measures that
would promote women's rights; norms that would publicly acknowledge domestic
violence for the first time in Latin America; and, consequently, to garner from the
women's movement. The ratification of the Family Violence Law was part of a series of
measures adopted by Fujimori targeting women of different social levels and aimed at
attracting women's votes as well as reestablishing Fujimori's international reputation
"under the banner of antimachismo and equity" (Blondet 2002:281). This argument
supports the view of my informants. They maintain that Fujimori's personal interests and
political machinations partly explain the ratification of the law.11 In sum, this period of
crisis and electoral instability was part of the policy window that allowed women to place
their claims at the top of the public agenda.
However, by turning the feminist proposal on violence against women into a law,
Fujimori's government hijacked and co-opted the issue. Indeed, initially the bill was
named Ley de Violencia contra la Mujer" but just before receiving the official
Congress's approbation, Fujimori changed the name of the law for Ley de Protecci6n
frente a la Violencia Familiar.12" Many informants mentioned that they lost an important
part of their initial objectives because the law focuses only on family violence instead of
the many forms of violence against women and ignores the power relationships
embedded in domestic violence: "the family nucleus is perceived as more important than
11 Author's interview with a lawyer from the Manuela Ramos Movement Lima, May 20, 2004, and an
activist from the Flora Tristan Center Lima, on June 2, 2004.
12 Author's interview with an activist from Flora Tristan Lima, June 2, 2004.
violence against women.13" As explained by Jeannette Llaja, a lawyer working for
El moviento feminist pierde cuando consigue une Ley de Violencia Familiar y no
una Ley de Violencia contra la Mujer. Hay difusi6n del problema pero
descontextualiza el tema de la relaci6n de poder que este detras de la violencia. La
Ley esta muy distant de considerarlo como una violacion a los derechos humans,
la present como une conflict familiar et de communicaci6n (CLADEM 2004).
Although the issue has been coopted by the government, the law was considered as
a score for the feminist movement and interactions between different actors have been
crucial. The alliances made through FORO-MUJER between feminist groups,
congressional leaders and government officials also had an important impact on the
adoption of this law. As mentioned, Congresswomen Lourdes Flores Nano played a
particularly important role presenting and promoting the bill to Congress. According to
Weldon (2002:97), winning a successful policy on violence against women depends
heavily on whether or not the female promoter is influential enough to affect policy, and
whether there is a strong autonomous women's movement. Lourdes Flores is a
recognized figure in Peru today and was an important opposition leader under Fujimori's
regime (Blondet 2002). Moreover, the women's movement provided the basis and the
external support to legitimize the policy on domestic violence, and FORO-MUJER
helped to counterbalance internal resistance within the government. Female allies in
government and Congress have, thus, played an important role in the adoption of the
Family Violence Law. Moreover, domestic violence was considered a problem of direct
concern to women and, as such, established a convergence of interests with female
deputies in Congress that were not part of FORO-MUJER All congresswomen voted in
13 Author's interview with the coordinator of CLADEM-Peru Lima, June 1, 2004.
favor of the ratification of the law despite their differing political affiliations (Blondet
2002:297). Therefore, the presence of allies and policymakers interested in feminist
proposals helped the adoption of the Family Violence Law. This corroborates Weldon's
(2002:163) observation that "most policies on violence against women are products of
partnerships between women's movement and sympathetic insiders."
Psychological readiness is another factor that influenced the political opportunities
available for a women's movement to form and achieve their political goals (Costain
1992:15). As previously mentioned, throughout the 80s the women's movement worked
on developing a consciousness regarding violence, and in the early 90s, women were
paying attention. Women were organically and psychologically ready to assign the
government responsibility for assessing the problem. Organically in the sense that
women were structurally ready; for example women's participation in FORO-MUJER
shows that they were organized to press for the adoption of legislation on violence
against women. Additionally, an important number of women had changed their
traditional focus on home and family and were psychologically ready to pressure the
government to address gender violence, gender equality and ending with women's
subordination. As such, the adoption of the law received important support from the
women's movement, and all women in Congress voted for the adoption of the legislation.
Finally, the international context focusing on women's human rights and the
adoption by Peru of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women
(DEVAW) in June 1993 also pressured Fujimori's government to adopt legislation on
violence. Women had initiated the legislative process well before the international norm
was adopted. Throughout the 80s and early 90s, feminists have been critical for
identifying the issue, raising consciousness and translating domestic violence into the
public policy agenda. Helped by a favorable political context in the early 90s, as well as
support from the women's movement, the feminists were able to pressure the government
to adopt a norm against domestic violence.
Table 1. National Legislation on Domestic Violence
Law No.26260 adopted in December 1993 "Law for Family Protection"
Law No.19.325 adopted in August 1994 "Establishing Standard Procedures and
Penalties for Acts of Violence within the Family"
Law No 103-322 adopted in September 1994, "Violence against Women"
Law No.24.417 adopted in December 1994, "Protection against Family Violence"
Law 27 adopted in 1995
Law 16707 adopted in July 1995, "Law on the Safety of Citizens
Law adopted in November 1995, "Law against Violence toward Women and the
Law No.1674 adopted in December 1995, "Law against Domestic and Family
Law adopted in March 1996, "Law against Domestic violence"
Law adopted in July 1996, "Law on Domestic Violence"
Law No. 902 adopted in September 1996, "Law against Family Violence"
Law No.9796 adopted in 1996, "Law to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Family
Law containing amendments and additions to the 1996 Penal Code
Law 9497 adopted in 1997, "Law Defining Domestic Violence, Sexual Harassment, and
Incest as Crimes"
Law No.132-97 adopted in 1997 "Law against Domestic Violence"
Law adopted in December 1997, "Law against Domestic Violence"
Law adopted in September 1998, "Law on Violence against Women and the Family"
State without national-level legislation
State without national-level legislation
State without national-level legislation
SOURCE: Inter-American Commission of Women, "First Biennial Report of the Inter-American
Commission of Women (CIM) on Compliance with Resolution AG/RES. 1456 (XXVII-O/97)." June 1999.
Modified from Hawkins and Humes (2002:236).
Following the two-stage model of norm diffusion described by Hawkins and
Humes (2002), I have demonstrated in this chapter how the feminist section of the
women's movement in Peru and the window of opportunities under Fujimori's
government contributed to the adoption of the Family Violence Law. National feminist
groups have taken different strategies to maintain their autonomy and to develop
consciousness regarding the issue of domestic violence. The particular anti-democratic
circumstances that allowed the opening of the system and national pressure made Peru a
leading state in the adoption of the Family Violence Law.
In the next chapter, I will explore the implementation problems of the Family
Violence Law and the new challenges faced by the women's movement in the 90s. I will
analyze how the women's movement changed their strategies to focus more on a rights-
based approach and how structural, cultural and internal problems constrains women's
movement approach to work for a better implementation of the law.
THE RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
FAMILY VIOLENCE LAW
The previous chapter was concerned with the different strategies developed by the
feminist movement to pressure the government to adopt national legislation condemning
domestic violence and the particular political context that allowed the Law for Protection
from Family Violence (hereinafter "Family Violence Law") to be ratified. This chapter
addresses the second step undertaken by the feminist NGOs in their long-term project to
tackle domestic violence, their efforts to assure the law was implemented. The two
objectives of this chapter are, first, to discuss feminist NGO's changing approach to
domestic violence within an evolving international context, and second, the obstacles that
undermined their efforts to implement the Family Violence Law.
In Latin America the end of the 1980s and the decade of the 1990s was a period
characterized by democratic transitions. Justice and good governance became part of the
political agenda adopted by most of the countries in the region. Additionally, a discourse
based on rights became a condition for strengthening democratic society by placing
social, economic and human rights at the forefront of Latin American policy debates.
Revitalized through this discourse, women's rights gained special attention and were
declared at the World Conference of Human Rights in Vienna in 1993 as an "inalienable,
integral and an indivisible part of universal human rights." Over the course of the 1990s,
civilian governments from the region became accountable for their commitments to
democracy and human rights through international conventions that resulted from United
Nations conferences, through regional agreements of the Organization of the American
States and through the ratification of national legislation. This formal acknowledgement
created further international and national debates between governments and activists over
This new international political context entailed a change for NGOs. From the late
1980s and beginning of the 1990s, NGOs started to adopt a rights-based approach that
reflected these changes within the region: they began to develop projects and programs
focusing on citizenship, rights and commitments to democratic practices. Vargas argues
that the rights-based discourse adopted during that decade involved a broader range of
interests, characterized by unprecedented forms of contacts or relationships between the
state and civil society (Ibid. 2002:206). Molyneux and Lazar (2003) have studied the
changes in NGOs' work in Latin America, and they stress the NGO's rights-based
approach as a working and developing project that integrates some or all of the following
parameters: having a clear focus on rights as well as gender, culture, ethnicity, religion,
or age; giving particular attention to empowerment; increasing participation in formal and
informal decision-making processes; having an emphasis on democracy, that involves not
only an engagement in some way with governmental processes at international, national
or local level, but also includes internal democracy and a participatory relationship with
users; promoting projects aiming to bring changes within the society at large as well as
improving the lives of the project users (Ibid. 2003:6-7).
As such, many NGOs began to develop projects focusing on the improvement of
leadership skills among women in order to increase their access to the political apparatus.
Civil society organizations became involved in the electoral process, and a number of
projects aimed at improving the empowerment of low-income groups such as women,
indigenous peoples, and children (Ibid. 2003:32). Additionally, NGOs used a language
based on citizenship to deepen democracy and to extend the struggle for gender equality
to the struggle for the "right to have rights" (Dagnino 1998). As analyzed by Vargas,
"this formulation includes the right to equality as well as the right to be different and
allows the expansion of rights and the identification of unrecognized rights rather than
their limitation to those that have already been defined" (Ibid. 2002:204). During the
90s, women's NGOs that had often developed from the women's movement, became
very active, undertaking a rights-based strategy where they worked at the grassroots level
and lobbied governments for legal reforms that promote and protect women's rights
while monitoring government compliance with international conventions and national
laws. This general framework leads me to turn now to the rights-based approach
developed by Peruvian feminist NGOs and how they used this rights strategy to work for
the implementation of the Family Violence Law.
The Implementation of the Family Violence Law
The Manuela Ramos Movement, the Peruvian Women's Center Flora Tristan,
DEMUS, and CLADEM are the four NGOs that participated in my research. Based on
my interviews with their representatives, these NGOs present themselves as feminist
organizations and use a rights-based approach, arguing that for women to achieve rights
they must be free from violence. They work at different levels to improve the
implementation of the Family Violence Law. These feminist organizations have a clear
focus on women's human rights and domestic violence as part of their political agendas,
as well as other concerns such as "femenicidio", reproductive and sexual rights, and
women's rural rights. Through projects or initiatives to confront domestic violence, they
aim to make the state accountable to international, regional and national conventions on
violence against women. Except for CLADEM (which only works on monitoring and
pressuring for accountability by the state) Manuela Ramos, Flora Tristan and DEMUS
have developed different activities to increase women's empowerment. The following
sections examine the proactive rights-based approach used by these feminist NGOs to
increase women's empowerment and to develop state accountability regarding domestic
A number of approaches have been taken to define the concept of empowerment
(Deere & Leon 2001, Parpart, Rai & Staudlt 2003). As noted by Deere and Leon,
empowerment "is not a linear process with a well-defined beginning and ending that is
the same for all women"; it rather needs to be understood as a notion determined by a
number of factors such as women's personal and collective experiences, relationships,
family, context, history and level of subordination (Deere & Leon 2001:25). However, a
number of scholars (Parpart, Rau & Staudlt 2003, Molyneux & Lazar 2003, Deere &
Leon 2001) seem to agree with the work of Rowlands (1998) who argues that
empowerment must be understood as including "power to" which is when a group
stimulates the interests and activities of others. It is related to "power with" that relates
to the ability to work collectively and cooperate in finding a common decision and finally
"power from within" relates to individual consciousness or self-esteem (Deere and Leon
2001:24-25). In general terms, empowerment allows women to challenge their gender
subordination, and patriarchal traditions, and to take control of their lives, their bodies,
and their sexuality. NGOs are important actors for women's empowerment because they
operate through "informal learning" programs such as workshops which are excluded
from the education system. NGOs provide opportunities for women to acquire
knowledge on a range of issues, such as gender subordination, reproductive health,
domestic violence, gender and legislation, gender and politics, and others (Stromquist
Through workshops, publicity materials, psychological and legal services to
domestic violence victims, Manuela Ramos, Flora Tristan and DEMUS develop activities
or services focused on "power from within," aiming to raise awareness and confidence
among women. Those feminist NGOs work on a rotational basis, providing free legal and
psychological services for female victims in the Lima police station for women.1
DEMUS and Manuela Ramos provide legal and psychological consultations in their
regular offices. Consultations with psychologists provide a private space where victims
can discuss their individual experiences and emotions. Legal orientations with NGO
lawyers provide information about women's rights and the Family Violence Law, and
counsel victims about different steps that should be undertaken for their judicial cases.2
Additionally, DEMUS organizes therapy groups with domestic violence victims,
providing a space for reflection where women acquire knowledge and comprehension
about domestic violence dynamics.3 Finally, DEMUS, Manuela Ramos and Flora Tristan
have organized an emergency phone lines offering consultations.
1 Since 1988 Peru followed Brazil's example and established "comiserias de mujeres" which are special
police stations mostly composed of female staff, trained to respond to domestic violence cases. In Lima
metropolitan they are seven women police stations (Lima, Callao, Canto Rey, Independencia, Villa El
Salvador, Collique and in the Ministry for Women and Social Development). The Ministry of Interior has
also established specialized sections for the same purpose within regular police stations.
2 Author's interview with a lawyer from DEMUS, Lima, June 9, 2004.
This direct and individual contact between domestic violence victims and NGO
professionals allows raising women's consciousness, developing and rediscovering self-
esteem and helps women in their decision-making process. By providing legal and
psychological services, NGOs help individuals to make rights important on a personal
level and through their rights-based work they "make rights relevant to people's daily
lives" (Molyneux and Lazar 2003:52).
NGOs' rights-based approach is also emphasized within their educational
materials. Through their pamphlets, the three NGO participants provide general and
practical information on domestic violence such as where victims can receive help, who
are domestic violence victims, what to do in a situation of violence and expose the
general myths attributed to domestic violence. The objectives of those materials aim to
increase women's education about domestic violence, and incite victims to denounce
violence and to consult NGOs professionals. Additionally, by insisting on myths about
domestic violence and on the abnormality of violent behaviors, those educational
brochures also play an important role in developing women's awareness at an individual
level: they might give to women the impetus to consult or to denounce domestic violence.
For these reasons, I believe that Flora Tristan, Manuela Ramos and DEMUS work on an
individual basis that might lead to women's empowerment, which is one parameter of the
Another important component of the rights-based strategy is the emphasis of NGOs
on democracy and their involvement within governmental processes, particularly by
working on state accountability for international, regional and national engagements in a
way that people are able to exercise their rights and to get access to justice. Indeed, the
implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the
Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence
Against Women, and the Family Violence Law represent important implementation
challenges for the state as well as for NGOs. For the purpose of my study I will
concentrate only on NGOs who work to improve the implementation of the national
legislation on domestic violence.
One of the main factors that impede an adequate enforcement of the Family
Violence Law is the work performed by the main actors responsible for the application of
the legislation, such as state prosecutors, police officers, judges and forensic doctors. My
interviews with those "justice operators" show a number of obstacles that stand in the
way of the enforcement of the law: the lack of human and material resources, delays in
investigation, legislative limitations, ineffective sanctions and protective measures,
minimization of injuries, ideological biases, and lack of knowledge are among the factors
that strongly affect the application of the Family Violence Law.
By increasing their collaboration with the state, Manuela Ramos, Flora Tristan and
DEMUS have taken several steps to address enforcement. Because implementation is
threatened by actors' biases, lack of knowledge or sensibility towards the issue, the three
feminists NGOs provide workshops for justice operators aiming to increase their
understanding of violence against women. Through their workshops, professionals from
Manuela Ramos explain why there is gender violence, what is domestic violence and
what are the myths and the cycles associated with domestic violence.4 Flora Tristan has
collaborated since 1989 with the Ministry of Interior by providing workshops to police
4 Author's interview with a lawyer from the Manuela Ramos, Lima, May 20, 2004.
officers on violence against women. This agreement between Flora Tristan and the state,
which was ratified under former President Garcia, allows the feminist NGO to provide
information about women's human rights to police officers who will later receive
victims' statements in domestic violence cases.5 During those workshops, Flora Tristan
discusses the quality of attention in police stations, international and national legislation,
and the legal procedures that have to be taken into account in domestic violence cases.
DEMUS and Manuela Ramos have organized workshops for forensic doctors and judges
to increase their sensibility toward the issues. Flora Tristan and Manuela Ramos have
collaborated with the Ministry for Women and Social Development (MIMDES)6 for the
implementation of an emergency free phone service for victims of domestic violence.
Another way to engage with the Peruvian state is to intervene in judicial cases. As
such, DEMUS and Flora Tristan intervene in judicial leader cases because the precedent-
setting legal cases might have an important impact on future legal actions.' At the time
of the interview, DEMUS was involved in the case of a woman that had been killed by
her spouse after using all legal instruments to obtain protection and justice from the
courts. In another case involving an assassinated woman, DEMUS complained to the
women's rights division within the Office of the Peoples's Ombudsman8 because the
judge did not sentence the murderer. By being involved in such cases, DEMUS attempts
5 Author's interview with an activist from the Flora Tristan, Lima, July 2,2004.
6 Alberto Fujimori's government created the "Ministerio de Promoci6n de la Mujer y Desarollo Humano
(PROMUDEH) in 1996 to address women's issues. Recently, the name for "Ministerio de Promoci6n de la
Mujer y Desarollo Humano" has been changed for the "Ministerio de la Mujer y del Desarollo Social".
SAuthor's interview with a lawyer from DEMUS, Lima, June 9, 2004.
8 The "Defensoria Especializada de la Mujer en la Defensoria del Pueblo" was created in October 1996 to
monitor government actions toward the protection and the promotion of women's human rights.
to demonstrate that domestic violence can lead to death, thus pressing the government to
implement protective and penal measures and try to make the legislation effective and
As part of their strategy to raise public awareness about violence against women
and pressure the state to act regarding the increasing number of women assassinated by
their spouses, DEMUS has also been engaged for two years in a campaign on
"feminicidio." This relatively recent phenomenon is described by DEMUS as a
"genocide against women that occurs when historical conditions generate social practices
that violate women's integrity, health, freedom and lives" (DEMUS website). By
framing their campaign under the banner "ni a muerta mas," DEMUS aims to create
debates and discussions within the society and tries to sensitize the population about the
magnitude of the violence issue.9 By raising cases with the legal authorities and by
developing a campaign on "feminicidio," DEMUS creates a context that allows them to
lobby and push for legislative modifications regarding the penal code and the Family
Violence Law. Thus, DEMUS pressures for legislative changes, but also forces the state
to be accountable and to ensure and implement protective and punitive measures within
the Family Violence Law.10
Although Flora Tristan and Manuela Ramos did not embrace a campaign on
"feminicidio," their lobbying activities pressured the government to respect international
and national legislation and they monitor government actions. To force the government
to face implementation problems, Manuela Ramos and Flora Tristan published in 2003 a
10 Author's interview with a lawyer from DEMUS, Lima, June 9, 2004.
number of articles on the quality of attention by justice operators, such as Family and
Sexual Violence: a diagnostic on attention services" (Macassi Leon 2003b). This
academic research financed by international donors aims to provide an accurate
representation of the implementation of the Family Violence Law by justice operators
and to lobby for modifications based on the results of the research.1 Flora Tristan
published a report in 2003 on family and sexual violence assessing the current level of
violence, public policies, legislative answers and legal and institutional obstacles
incompatible with the Family Violence Law. In the same vein, CLADEM published a
report in 2003 on the "National Balance on Domestic Violence in Peru" which assesses
government and NGO actions to tackle domestic violence problems and the changes and
challenges to improve the situation. Flora Tristan lobbies for the modification of the
Peruvian Criminal Code. The NGO published an article on necessary changes to reform
the Criminal code and to condemn family violence misdemeanor as a crime against life,
body, and health (Macassi Leon 2003a). Until today, when the assault is classified as a
misdemeanor, there is no penal sanction because the Family Violence Law is a civil law.
Therefore, those publications provide a framework for NGOs to promote and lobby for
policy changes, law implementation and pressure the state to enforce legislation.
Another important strategy for feminist NGOs is to work through "espacios de
concertaci6n" where they create alliances with other civil society organizations. This
space for dialogue helps to generate discussion between various non-profit groups that
might increase grassroots support when feminist organizations present bills to the
Congress, and can also lead to coordinated actions in monitoring government actions.
" Author's interview with the coordinator of the women's human rights program in the Flora Tristan
Center, Lima, May 19, 2004.
Dialogue aims also to increase discussion between government members and NGOs.12
An important improvement has been the creation of the "Mesa Nacional para la
Prevencion y Atenci6n de la Violencia Familiar" where organizations from civil society
and the Ministry for Women and Social Development have created a national committee
to discuss domestic violence problems with Ministries of Justice, Health, Education,
Interior, Public Ministry, and with organizations such as Flora Tristan, UNICEF, and the
Network for Women's Empowerment. This committee aims to create propositions to
decrease and prevent domestic violence and to find solutions to improve legislation
application. However, according to CLADEM, the committee faces problems: ministry
representatives that attend meetings do not have decision-making power or the necessary
leadership to engage their ministry in different projects and agreements or simply do not
participate in the meetings.13
Finally, feminist NGOs use publicity and the media to pressure governments to
enforce the Family Violence Law and to increase consciousness within the society at
large. These NGOs used posters, magazines, website, create public events, and published
articles in magazines and newspapers. For example, DEMUS has published articles on
domestic violence, sexual and reproductive rights, and religion in Peruvian newspapers
such as La Republica, La Industria, El Gran Diario del Norte, El Tiempo.
In sum, my findings show that through a rights-based approach, feminist NGOs
work at the individual and national levels to raise consciousness and provide education
about the existence of domestic violence victims' rights, to increase women's
12 Author's interview with the coordinator of the women's human rights program in the Flora Tristan
Center, Lima, May 19, 2004.
13 Author's interview with a lawyer from CLADEM, Lima, June 1, 2004.
empowerment, and to improve the Family Violence Law, making it operative and
enforceable by justice operators.
NGO work to improve legislation
Lobbying work for legislation
improvement and criminal code
amendments. Campaigns on
"espacio de concertaci6n"
NGO work to make legislation on
violence against women effective and enforceable
Taking up individual cases and Workshops training:
cases that can set a legal precedent, police officers,
Complaining to women's state prosecutors,
ombudsman; researches and publications; forensic doctors,
campaign on "feminicidio"; Judges
NGO work encouraging the development of women's
empowerment and awareness, and encouraging women to denounce domestic
violence by providing psychological counseling, legal advices,
therapy groups,and emergency lines
Figure 1. Shows how NGO's work at the individual and national levels on violence
against women. Modified from the table developed by Molyneux and Lazar
As the above conceptual chart designed by Molyneux and Lazar (2003:65)
indicates, feminist NGOs developed particular strategies working on an individual basis
to empower women through psychological and legal counseling, therapies groups,
educative materials while working at a national level to make the state accountable of the
Family Violence Law through dialogue, lobbying, campaigning, researching and
publishing, workshops, publicity and legal actions.
Limitations to the Rights-Based Approach
The previous section highlights how feminist NGOs used the rights-based approach
to increase women's empowerment and to make the state accountable to their legal
commitments, particularly the enforcement of the Family Violence Law. Although some
important successes have been achieved by NGOs working to tackle domestic violence,
three obstacles stand in the way of their efforts. These obstacles are structural, cultural
and internal (within the feminist NGOs themselves). The following section discusses the
limitations to the rights-based approach encountered by feminist NGOs in their efforts to
improve the situation regarding domestic violence.
NGOs' rights-based strategy implies an operational legal system able to provide
equal access to justice, fair and efficient legal procedures, law enforcement, effective
protection, and a prompt trial. However, NGO themselves face a number of structural
obstacles that undermine their efforts to develop a rights-based approach aiming to make
the state accountable to the Family Violence Law. According to Culliton (1994),
structural problems relate to the legal system, particularly the failures to effectively
investigate, prosecute, and punish domestic violence, which, in turn, results in a failure to
effectively protect victims from further injuries. The results of my research show that
investigative delay, legislative limitations, protective measures and ineffective sanctions
are structural problems constraining the application of the Family Violence Law and
limiting NGO's rights-based strategy.
More specifically, due to the bureaucratic system neither the women's police
stations nor the National Police of Peru are able to complete their investigations within
the legal time period. Police officers' investigations are generally completed within a
minimum of twenty days to two months instead of the required five days.14 Police
investigations are also limited by a legal disposition that empowers them to search the
home of the accused only in cases of"delito flagrante" which means when police witness
the assault or the misdemeanor.15 Because domestic violence generally takes place
within the household, this article has a weak application.
Police officers and state prosecutors have a clear obligation to provide protection to
domestic violence victims.16 While recognizing their obligations, police officers do not
provide any particular protection measures arguing that they cannot legally force the
aggressor to leave the house; they say if the aggressor is unconscious, shameless, and
does not want to leave his house, I can't take him out because the law does not allow me
to do so.17" Police officers argue that they can remove the aggressor from the house and
detain him for up to 24 hours only in cases of"delito flagrante," which rarely occurs
because as I mentioned, police rarely witness domestic violence. State prosecutors are
also legally responsible for providing temporary protective measures such as forcing the
removal of the aggressor from a victim's home.18 However, the state prosecutor that I
interviewed mentioned that judges are the only justice operators legally instructed to
provide protective measures.19 Since it usually takes four to seven months for a judge to
14 Art. 4 Family Violence Law, Lima.
15 Art. 7 Family Violence Law, Lima.
16 Art. 6 Family Violence Law, Lima.
17Author's interview with the Captain from Surquillo's police station, Lima, June 11, 2004.
18Art. 10 and art. 11 Family Violence Law, Lima.
19Author's interview with a state prosecutor from Cono Norte, Lima, May 18, 2004.
become aware of a case and to provide protective measures, the majority of the victims
remain threatened, living with their aggressors.
Lack of effective sanctions for domestic violence aggressors is another structural
problem constraining the implementation of the law. The Family Violence Law classifies
physical violence as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense and relies on the Penal
Code for a deeper classification. The Penal Code establishes a system where offenses are
classified according to the number of days required for treatment and disability leave
resulting from injuries. Injuries requiring ten days or fewer are categorized as
misdemeanors and there is no penal sanction; those requiring more than ten but fewer
than thirty days are simple felonies and the aggressor can receive a penal sanction from a
criminal judge; and those requiring more than thirty days such as disfiguration,
permanent mutilation, or placing the victim's life in imminent danger are classified as
aggravated felonies. The Penal Code was modified in 1997 to stipulate that misdemeanor
offenses can rise to the level of a felony when the injuries are sustained in domestic
violence (Women's Rights Watch report 2000). Based on such a classification,
psychological violence is hardly qualified and is treated as a misdemeanor because it
does not fit the Penal Code's classification, which does not translate psychological
trauma into a quantifiable injury.
According to NGO participants, most domestic violence cases are treated as
misdemeanors and not as felonies. When the offense is classified as a misdemeanor,
perpetrators can be prevented from seeing their children; they can be removed from their
household, they might be held liable for family financial support or civil reparation and
they can receive psychological therapy or be forced to carry out community service.20
However, women's rights activists, state prosecutors and judges mentioned that sanctions
can be expected at most to remove the aggressor from the house (six months to one year)
or to pay a minimal fine for a civil reparation. Those penalties are negligible and do not
dissuade aggressors from committing violence against women. Finally, cases are less
likely to be classified as felonies and prison is rarely the verdict for domestic violence
cases because according to the participants, domestic violence is still not considered a
The lack of material resources and staffs within the criminal justice system is
another structural impediment that has been reported by participants. To improve the
rapidity and the quality of their work, police officers need equipment such as computers,
faxes, and police cars, and they must increase their coordination with multidisciplinary
teams composed of psychologists, lawyers, social workers and forensic doctors. Police
stations need additional trained staff to attend to calls and to provide better protection to
domestic violence victims.21 In the same vein, there are too few family prosecutors and
judges to deal with the important backlogs domestic violence cases. In Lima
metropolitan, three specialized judges attend domestic violence cases for a population of
6,7 inhabitants.22 In the district of Cono Norte23 in Lima there are five specialized family
20Art 21 Family Violence Law, Lima.
2Author's interviews with captains from women's police stations in Lima, June 4, 2004, in Villa Salvador,
Lima, June 8, 2004 and with the captain from the national police station in Surquillo, Lima, June 11, 2004.
22 "Instituto Nacional De Estadistica E Informatica" 2000.
23 Cono Norte includes districts of Comas, Independencia, San Martin de Porres, Los Olivos, Puente Piedra,
Carabayllo, Santa Rosa y Anc6n.
judges24 and five25 state prosecutors for a population near to 2 millions. Those numbers
reflect the lack of priority attributed to domestic violence and other family issues for the
These structural impediments provide insights into the difficulties of enforcing the
legislation, which compromise the NGOs rights-based approach. Many informants
mentioned the lack of political willingness to really invest in the problematic issues, such
as has happened with the "Mesa National para la Prevenci6n y Atenci6n de la Violencia
Familiar." Ministries send representatives with no decision-making powers or simply do
not send any representative to attend meetings. In her report on "Family Sexual
Violence, Abortion and Reproductive Rights" Yvonne Macassi Le6n (2003c) highlights
the fact that the Ministry for Women and Social Development, which has the most
important programs for decreasing and preventing domestic violence does not have the
necessary budget to effectively implement their plans. Indeed in 2003 the Ministry
received 2.4% of the national budget, which is distributed among two sections of the
ministry: women's affairs and social development. According to CLADEM, most of the
budget is allocated to the social development department of the Ministry. Another
problem that has been mentioned is the lack of continuity of the program from one
government to another. A newly elected government does not have to continue projects
or programs started under former administrations and a political representative has the
25 Author's interview with a family state prosecutor in Cono Norte, Lima, May 18, 2004.
liberty to decide or not to carry out a project on domestic violence: "it depends on their
By adopting a rights-based approach, feminist NGOs have developed important
strategies trying to make the state accountable to their legal engagements and to develop
women's empowerment. However, those structural challenges are part of the political
and judicial apparatus undermining the NGOs rights-based work, which can appear
pointless without broader programs of institutional and legislative reforms (Molyneux
and Lazar 2003:83). Feminist NGOs confront important challenges maintaining their
right-based work when domestic violence victims do not receive adequate state
protection, when sanction towards aggressors are mostly futile, when access to justice is
limited, when the justice system is overloaded, and when domestic violence does not
appear to be a priority on the government agenda. Moreover, in a country like Peru,
where corruption is associated with the judicial and executive powers and where people
do not believe that justice might resolve their conflicts, NGOs rights-based work is thus
limited by those structural shortcomings.
According to all NGO participants, a major problem that limits the rights-based
approach and impedes the implementation of the Family Violence Law is the cultural
model based on patriarchal power. Cultural attitudes and biases predetermine justice
operators' reactions. Many NGO representatives mentioned that justice operators apply
the Family Violence Law based on their own personal criteria and ideology. According
to the informant from Manuela Ramos, justice actors still believe that violence against
26 Author's interview with the director of the family violence program in the Ministry of Women and Social
Development, Lima, May 26, 2004.
women is a private matter that does not need legal intervention: the family is what needs
to be protected. As the captain from the police station in Surquillo highlights "without
any doubt, we believe that family is the society's principal nucleus and cannot be
disintegrated: the children are the ones who suffer from the consequences of violence".
The problem of domestic violence seems to remain misunderstood and some justice
operators still blame women for being responsible for the situation. A commentary made
by one state prosecutor from the Cono Norte illustrates cultural bias towards the victims
of domestic violence "women become used to be victims, they are looking for other
partners and the same situation happens. Is it bad luck or are women looking for partners
with such characteristics? Women become used to violence and being injured (...) they
feel comfortable in such situation.27" Others believe that women use the Family Violence
Law as a mechanism to receive medical attention, to have a motive for divorcing for
alimony or to threaten their partners (Macassi Le6n 2003b). Finally, "justice operators"
still believe that the only victims involved in domestic violence conflicts are from the
lower social class and instable families; they do not have education or decent work and
are economically dependent (Macassi Le6n 2003c:19).
On top of that, women's own gender stereotypes add to the biased attitudes and the
idea of being a "good wife" as synonymous with being obedient and submissive (Chant
2003:119). As such, victims of violence still often blame themselves for what happened,
accepting their fault, insisting that they deserved what happened, and family well-being
remains their first concern.28 Other factors, such as family networks that pressure women
27 Author's interview with the state prosecutor in Cono Norte, Lima, May 18, 2004.
28 Author's interview with the lawyer from Manuela Ramos, Lima, May 29, 2004.
to remain with their families, economic dependency on men's incomes, and the victim's
belief that their claims will not be taken seriously, justify women's inactivity and also
contribute to reinforce women's stereotypes (Chant 2003).
Through the organization of workshops for justice operators, Flora Tristan,
Manuela Ramos, and DEMUS work hard to change cultural attitudes on violence against
women. Education is key to improve awareness about domestic violence and "the state
has the obligation to develop programs that discuss this issue and women's subordination
in the society.29"
Those myths or cultural biases among institutional actors as well as of women
themselves are obstacles to the implementation of the Family Violence Law. Molyneux
and Lazar suggest that cultural resistance affects rights-based strategy when it is opposed
to cultural practices (Ibid. 2003:88). As previously discussed, I believe that my
interviews provide evidence of such obstacles: cultural biases and attitudes guide the
decision of justice operators and affect NGO's efforts in their projects to make the state
accountable to the Family Violence law. By providing workshops to justice operators,
these NGOs aim to change their cultural attitudes. Although domestic violence is
socially unacceptable in urban areas (but remains justified in the countryside as indicated
by the Peruvian proverb "mis me pegas, mas te quiero") machismo from both men and
women impede an adequate application of the law.30
Similarly to what has been observed by Molyneux and Lazar, I would say the
feminist NGOs work hard to change Peruvian culture. As an activist from Flora Tristan
29 Author's interview with the coordinator of the women's human rights program in the Flora Tristan
Center, Lima, May 19, 2004.
mentioned "one of our challenges is to change behaviors, and to bring effective actions
that will entail cultural change.31" NGOs work on transforming women's cultural
attitudes through workshops, legal and psychological help and publicity materials;
however, although NGOs try to confront women's biases, changing cultural attitudes and
stereotypes is a long-term process. As mentioned by the informant from Manuela Ramos
"we note that mentalities of services' users still need to be changed.32" This is why
education on gender subordination and violence against women is needed among young
people. Domestic violence is an issue that has existed for decades but it is apparently
new for the Ministry of Education and there are no specific programs aiming to educate
students about domestic violence or to prevent domestic violence.33 Notwithstanding that
domestic violence is an epidemic in Peru, the issues of domestic violence are assessed
through broader gender questions but elementary school and high school curricula do not
provide specific information on the problem.34
Internal problems: the "NGOization" of the Feminist Movement
In Latin America the 1990s brought about the return to democratic rule, the
adoption of a good governance agenda, and the formal recognition of women's rights.
This period was also characterized by the adoption of neoliberal reforms that led
governments to cut social programs and public services, increasing the role played by
civil society organizations within social welfare services and compensating for
31 Author's interview with an activist from the Flora Tristan Center, Lima, June 2, 2004.
32 Author's interview with the lawyer from the Manuela Ramos Movement, Lima, May 20, 2004.
33 Author's interview with the representative of the program "Peace and Culture" in the Ministry of
Education, Lima, June 20, 2004.
government withdraw from social welfare functions (Radcliffe 2004). Under this
changing political and economic context of the 1990s, Peru, as well as most countries in
the region, saw the proliferation of "specialized and professionalized" feminist NGOs
dedicated to intervene in national and international policy processes (Alvarez 1998:306).
Additionally, the creation of governmental institutions such as women's ministries and
legislation protecting women's rights, entailed a demand for non-governmental
organizations that could provide specific information on women's issues. The spread of
NGOs during that decade was also related to the weakening and ineffectiveness of the
state, and to international funding agencies' decisions to redistribute their financial
resources to more professionalized organizations. This relatively recent phenomena that
took place all over the region has been described by Sonia Alvarez as "NGOization,"
which refers to institutionalization of the feminist movement (Alvarez 1998, Vargas
2002). The rights-based approach involves NGOs engagement in some way within the
governmental process. By their intervention in the policy process and making the state
accountable for women's rights, NGOs were criticized by the broader women' s
movement. As a result, fragmentation and tensions towards the strategies used to
pressure the state increased, and a growing distance between NGOs and grassroots
supports was observed (Alvarez 1998). Thus, the NGOization of the feminist movement
might explain enforcement problems of the Family Violence Law.
While trying to consolidate the gains realized during the 80s and early 90s, feminist
NGO's began to focus more on strategies to deal and negotiate with the authorities rather
than questioning the state. As such, the public, political sphere became the main focus
for feminist NGOs who concentrated their energies developing successful lobbying
tactics (Vargas 2002) as well as other strategies such as campaigning, dialogue with
governments and civil associations, monitoring justice operators, and legal actions with
the objective of influencing government policies and mechanisms. As I discussed in the
previous chapter, the ratification of the Family Violence Law in 1993 provides
information on Peruvian feminist strategies to make the state accountable for women's
rights in the context of domestic violence.
Throughout the changing international context of the 1990s, the NGOization of the
feminist movement and their approach based on rights, increased dialogue and
negotiations between the state and feminist NGOs, transformed their relationships into
closer contacts than in the previous decade. However, as Vargas comments "the policy
of negotiation with actors in the public political sphere (...) gave rise to a series of
tensions and conflicts" (Ibid. 2002:208). Similar to the division between feminist
activists identified as "bourgeois" and feminist militants during the 1980s, the new
situation has provoked a division between "las ongistas" versus "el movimiento"
(Alvarez 1998:312). Such division has taken place in other countries like in Chile where
the campaign for Congressional elections in 1991 highlighted conflicts between "las
profesionales" and "las pobladoras" (Baldez 2002:185). The latter believe that feminists
have abandoned the core of feminist principles, which undermine the NGOs capacity for
innovation and being autonomous from the state and donor agencies. The tension
between the "ongistas" and the "movement" is also emphasized because feminist NGOs
are in a particularly advantageous position in the sense that they have access to important
funding from national or international institutions which allows them to employ
remunerated professionals. They also benefit from a strategic position in terms of their
relationships with public officials, the media, and donor agencies (Alvarez 1998, Vargas
2002). However, this strategic position has caused critics to question NGO's
accountability. Scholars, such as Sara Radcliffe (2004) argue that NGOs are not
necessarily accountable to civil society, but rather to national and international funding
agencies (Ibid. 2004:205).
While all NGOs that I interviewed were clear about the importance of remaining
independent, objective, and autonomous from international and national donor agencies, I
found many examples illustrating this close engagement with the state. For instance,
Flora Tristan signed an agreement with the Ministry of Interior to provide workshops to
police officers on women's human rights and violence against women, telephone services
have been coordinated between Flora Tristan, Manuela Ramos and the Women's
Ministry and Social Development, and Flora Tristan has been also very active in the
creation of a "mesa de concertaci6n" involving ministries and NGOs to discuss domestic
violence prevention. However, the informant from Manuela Ramos mentioned "while
we always remain independent (from the state) and we will always critique and
denounce, cooptation is a risk.35" The rights-based approach used by feminist NGOs to
increase their participation within governmental processes and their attempt to make the
state accountable to women's rights entailed a closer relationship with the state, but risks
of cooptation are still present and impose an important limit to the rights-based strategy.
As during the 1980s, the question of autonomy entailed fragmentation within the feminist
35 Author's interview with a lawyer from the Manuela Ramos Movement, Lima, May 20, 2004.
Academics have also analyzed the adoption of the rights-based approach,
focusing on state, public policy and the NGOs' integration into the formal political sphere
that have distanced feminists NGOs from popular grassroots support (Alvarez 1998,
Baldez 2002, Vargas 2002). Feminism depends upon the support of a broader movement
in civil society to strengthen its minority position and to counterbalance the impact of its
interaction with the state; however, "without local mobilization with women from
grassroots organizations, feminists might lack the broad social base that would enable
them to press more effectively for the implementation of the many new rights and
entitlements recently earned through increased engagement in political-institutional
arenas on a national, regional, and global scale" (Alvarez 1998:316). Therefore, feminist
integration into conventional ways of doing politics or "realpolitik" have thus weakened
feminist relationships within the broader women's movement, which lost strength from
Feminist NGOs work to preserve their interactions with grassroots organizations
from the women's movement. As I mentioned, Flora Tristan has been very important in
establishing the dialogue committee between civil society and government, and Manuela
Ramos works in close collaboration with the "Casa del Bien-Estar," supporting a
women's community organization that provides legal, health, and educational services,
along with workshops for women from the urban and popular sectors in Lima. However
NGOs interactions with grassroots organizations appear to be limited. Those limitations
can be explained in terms of budget, staff and NGOs' priorities to work with the state.
The lack of support from grassroots organizations might undermine the capacity for
feminist NGOs to influence public policy implementation. In her study of the Chilean
women's movement and political mobilization, Baldez highlights a similar conclusion:
women at the grassroots levels do not feel that feminist NGOs adequately represent their
concerns. In the same vein, when feminist NGOs promote their policy agenda within the
Congress, they cannot rely on movement activists to support their proposals (Ibid.
2002:191). As Vargas observed "without the alliances and interactions which work to
transform political culture, the social base of the feminist movement disappears, thus
limiting its chances of gaining recognition and its capacity to influence civil society and
the government" (Ibid. 2001:210).
Therefore, due to those limitations resulting from the rights-based approach and
particularly by the decision to become engaged with government processes, feminist
NGO's might have difficulties in articulating their claims within the formal public and
political arenas which are still embedded in patriarchal power. Those limitations provide
important insights that might explain the difficulties encountered by feminist NGOs in
their policy implementation projects.
Finally, structural, internal and cultural obstacles that limit the rights-based
approach are not specific to the Peruvian situation. Structural problems have been
highlighted by many academics and remain present in a number of countries in Latin
America. In Brazil Fiona Macaulay (2000) discusses the lack of support for domestic
violence victims, the ineffective penal sanctions for aggressors and the deficiency within
the judicial system that fail to prosecute many domestic violence cases. Similarly, in
Nicaragua Nikki Johnson (2002) highlights the lack of protection for domestic violence
victims and the legislation enforcement problems. She also mentions that women's rights
are constrained by penal and civil codes that still considered women as equivalents to
minors and by the existence of old concepts such as chastity and family honor. As I
previously mentioned, the institutionalization of the women's movement has been a
regional tendency; the consequences of such changes took place all over Latin America
and are not specific to Peru (Alvarez 1998, Baldez 2002, Vargas 2002). Finally, the
patriarchal model and biases toward domestic violence is common in Latin America. As
Culliton mentioned "a number of degrading myths about Latina women create real
obstacles to the development of legal norms enforcing fundamental rights" (Ibid. 1994:2).
During the 90s, the right-based approach allowed feminist NGOs to work on
enforcing and improving the Family Violence Law. As my research shows, feminist
NGOs work at the personal level on women's empowerment and at the national level
through their participation within government processes making the state accountable to
women's rights. Furthermore as observed by Molyneux and Lazar (2003) the work
undertaken by NGOs aims to change cultural attitudes and public opinions toward
domestic violence. Although feminist NGO participants have realized important
achievements, some obstacles similar to those in other regions in Latin America limit the
rights-based approach. Many obstacles highlighted in a 2000 report by Women's Rights
Watch remain present in 2004. Feminist NGOs are accomplishing laudable efforts to
make rights valuable for women and justice operators, however, NGOs do not replace the
state and many of those obstacles need to be addressed by the Peruvian government itself.
Finally, Fujimori's authoritarian presidency under which these measures began to
be implemented might also explain why today the Family Violence Law has enforcement
problems. As many informants mentioned, Fujimori strategically ratified the Family
Violence Law and other legislation promoting women's rights to maintain his popularity
and to receive international funding.36 While adopting programs on domestic violence,
Fujimori's government was concurrently involved in a series of human rights abuses such
as forced sterilization programs titled "las ferias de la trompas" and against people
criticizing the legitimacy of his government. The authenticity of the motives for adopting
legislation promoting women's rights might have been opportunistic, and without the
necessary governmental willingness to really increase women's status and legal
protection. Up to now, this lack of governmental willingness is still present in the Peru
and is a potential explanation for implementation problems.
36 Author's interview with the director of Family Violence Program, Ministry of Women and Social
Development, Lima, May 26, 2004.
Although domestic violence has traditionally been considered a private issue
pertaining to the family domain, the last two decades have led to the recognition of the
depth of the problem and the importance of state intervention. A principal objective of
this study was to trace the evolution of the Peruvian feminist movement: its attempt to
place the issue of domestic violence on the public agenda; its increasing desire to obtain
government acknowledgement of the problem; and its increasing concentration on
developing women's consciousness. Another purpose was to discuss the current phase of
feminist NGOs' activity in their long struggle against domestic violence specifically as
they try to make the state accountable to the Family Violence Law while at the same time
providing adequate tools for women's empowerment.
Throughout the 80s and early 90s, the Peruvian feminist movement made
successful advances in the field of domestic violence. By applying a two-stage model of
norm diffusion, I argue that feminists played a central role in raising awareness on
violence against women, making domestic violence an issue of political and public
interest while struggling to maintain their organizational and ideological autonomy as a
necessary political strategy. I claimed that under an authoritarian regime and a
paradoxical context, strategic alliances were created between different women's groups
who seized the opportunity to press for the adoption of the Family Violence Law. I
highlighted the interaction between the feminist movement, Congresswomen and
democratss" who acted in a "triangle of empowerment" joining their efforts and bridging
their different interests in pressuring the government to adopt a law against domestic
violence (Vargas and Wieringa 1998). Although the international context was favorable
to women's rights and Fujimori needed to enhance the international image of a
government undertaking the parameters of an authoritarian regime, I demonstrated that
Peru was a leader country in the field of domestic violence legislation.
The changing international context of the 90s contributed to institutionalize the
feminist movement and transformed the feminist approach towards the state, replacing a
traditional antagonist relationship for an interaction based on a careful collaboration. I
argued that through a rights-based discourse, Peruvian feminist NGOs have been working
on an individual and national basis providing services to empower domestic violence
victims, and working to improve law enforcement by training justice operators, lobbying,
campaigning and so forth. However, my research showed that structural, internal and
cultural obstacles limit feminist NGO rights-based approach constraining their efforts
made to improve the implementation of the Family Violence Law. Structural obstacles
within the political and justice system have limited the rights-based approach because
they challenge NGO efforts for policy implementation. A general cultural attitude from
women as well as justice operators has restricted the enforcement of the Family Violence
Law. Finally, internal obstacles have created fragmentation within the feminist
movement and have decreased grassroots supports limiting NGOs rights-based approach
in the sense that feminist organizations might not have the necessary support from the
broader women's movement to work for the advancement and enforcement of the Family
This study raises important questions on the impact of the Peruvian feminist
movement: has the feminist movement successfully accomplished their objectives
regarding the adoption and implementation of the Family Violence Law over the last two
decades? The Peruvian feminist movement has certainly had an impact on policy
outcomes. Peruvian feminists' actions and discourses have been successful in making
visible the issue of violence against women, in highlighting the problem within the public
agenda, and in pressing for the adoption of a law condemning domestic violence. The
ratification of the Family Violence Law has been an important impetus for social change.
As noted by Rienzo and Wald (1997:11)" law (...) can change perceptions, which can
alter behavior which, in time, can alter attitudes." The law helped feminists to promote
social and cultural changes within the broader society as well as within the public
institutions. The Family Violence Law has been highly significant although there are
enforcement problems. By condemning domestic violence, Peruvian authorities have
legally recognized the problem and made violence against women a publicly and socially
Although feminist NGOs play an important role in trying to change cultural
attitudes, the task is far from being over. Transforming cultural attitudes remains an
important challenge. On the other hand, feminist actions have not been as successful in
terms of implementation. Do they fail in the enforcement of the Family Violence Law?
Why have feminist NGOs not been more successful in the implementation of the Family
Violence Law? Although they have taken multiple initiatives, feminist NGOs have
limited resources and they do not replace the state, which remains the main actor
accountable for the implementation of the law.
The Peruvian state has undertaken different means to address the issue. A number
of important amendments to the Family Violence Law have been enacted in the past
years following the publication of the Human Rights Watch Report in 2000. Currently,
the state recognizes sexual violence as a type of domestic violence;1 the Family Violence
Law now protects intimate partners that do not live under a same roof;2 the mandatory
conciliation session between aggressor and victim before the prosecution of the case is
eliminated;3 police investigation is limited to five days and state prosecutors have the
legal authority to provide protection measures.4
The Ministry for Women and Social Development has taken also various important
initiatives to tackle domestic violence. In March 1999, they created Emergency Women
Centers were domestic violence victims can find under a same roof women police station,
state prosecutor, legal and medical services.5 Users are satisfied with the services offer,
however few domestic violence victims attend these centers (Macassi Le6n 2003b: 19).
The Ministry for Women and Social Development implemented a shelter for victims,
telephone service the "linea de emergencia ayuda amiga" and provide workshops for
justice operators as well as for the community at large. They are also making laudable
efforts through different initiatives such as the "Plan Nacional Contra la Violencia Hacia
1 Article 2, Family Violence Law.
2 Since July 2000, the article 2i) of the Family Violence Law protected domestic violence victims in cases
where the abusers do not resided together quienes hayan procreado hijos en comuin, independiente que
convivan o no, al moment de producirse la violencia."
3 Since January 2001, the law 27398 abolished the mandatory conciliation controlled by state prosecutors in
domestic violence cases. Today judges are making conciliation between partners.
4 While the law 27988 modified in May 2003 includes this modification, I previously highlighted in chapter
3 the enforcement problems faced by these measures.
5 They are ten Women Emergency Centers in Lima metropolitan: Callao, Comas, Lima, San Luis, San Juan
de Lurigancho, San Juan de Miraflores, Surco, Ventanilla, Ventanilla-Pachacutec, Villa El Salvador.
la Mujer 2002-2007". This program involves the participation of the ministries of
education, health, justice, and interior, and aims to develop strategies to prevent domestic
violence, to increase the quality of services offer by justice operators, and to investigate
and revise the actual legislation. Nevertheless, the implementation of this program is
seriously threatened. As Yvonne Macassi Le6n observes "the role of the Ministry for
Women and Social Development has a weak position within the executive sector because
their propositions are not mandatory for other governmental sections, which impede a
transversal and multisectorial vision for the elaboration of strategies linked to domestic
violence (Ibid. 2003b:25). Moreover the lack of financial resources impedes the
development of sustainable action and coordination between the ministries involved in
the "Plan Nacional.6" Other ministries have also realized different activities to address
domestic violence. As such, the Ministry of Health organized a campaign on the
prevention of domestic violence in 2001 and the Ministry of Interior organized
workshops and classes on domestic violence to police officers (Ibid. 2003b:21). Finally,
most of the government's initiatives have focused on urban zones rather than on rural
areas. While Peru has 28 million citizens, more than one third of the population lives in
Lima (7.5 millions of inhabitants). As a result, progress in terms of law enforcement has
been carried out mostly in this urban capital, where all governmental institutions are
Although Peru's initiatives are laudable, many expectations have not yet been met,
and law enforcement remains an important challenge for Peruvian authorities. On the
other hand, is it realistic to hope for Peru's implementation of the Family Violence Law?
6 Author's interview with a lawyer working for the Women Emergency Center, Lima, June 4, 2004.
Peru, as a developing country, faces many limitations: one of the factors impeding the
enforcement of the Family Violence Law, as well as most Peruvian legislation, is the lack
of economic resources. Peru has realized a number of important achievements;
nevertheless, given Peru's level of development, we cannot expect Peru to perform as
industrialized countries. Although our expectations should remain realistic concerning
the law's enforcement, Peru has signed legal commitments that make the authorities
accountable to address the problem. According to these commitments, officials are under
the obligation to provide and improve programs, projects and activities that efficiently
address the issue on violence against women in urban areas as well as in the countryside.
While the work of the Peruvian feminist movement and feminist NGOs has been
instrumental in the ratification and enforcement of the Family Violence Law, the broader
women's movement and grassroots organizations have been also important throughout
the years. During the 1980s and early 1990s grassroots organizations supported feminist
groups by participating in marches against domestic violence and, as "promotores
legales", they have taken part in different projects aiming to educate and increase
consciousness-raising within low-income women (Johnson 2002). A complete analysis
on the advances made in the field of domestic violence would require further research on
the role played by the broader women's movement and its contribution to the struggle on
domestic violence. Women grassroots organizations are important as well as other
institutional actors involved within the project of addressing violence against women.
To be effectively addressed, domestic violence should involved the participation of
various actors specialized in diverse fields. Women need state protection to guarantee
their basic rights of being free from violence. They need justice operators adequately
trained to respond to domestic violence cases, they need access to education, they need
more legal and psychological counseling's and they need material support, such as
women's refugees, in order to escape domestic violence. However, as Fiona Macaulay
points out, there is "a general failure to think through strategies to deal with violence
against women as an integrated social policy, rather than as isolated measures" (Ibid.
2000:159). I believe that various initiatives such as the Plan Nacional" involving
ministries concerned by the issue or the "mesas de concertaci6n" creating dialogue
between the civil society organizations and the government are important steps to address
the issue based on a more integrated approach. Future avenues of research would need to
integrate all those different actors that were not part of this study but that undertook
important efforts in the struggle against domestic violence.
Finally, future research on the issue should include more quantitative data in order
to determine, for instance, how many judicial cases have been prosecuted, their outcomes
and how they were enforced. It would be interesting to observe how justice operators
treat domestic violence victims in order to assess operators' behaviors and attitudes
towards victims, and to examine NGOs' activities that strive for greater enforcement of
the law. Peru is currently involved in judicial reform, and future research should analyze
how the reform will address the policy gap that still leaves too many women without real
access to justice, without legal individual protection, and without a life free of violence.
LAW FOR PROTECTION FROM FAMILY VIOLENCE
The "Ley de Protecci6n Frente a la Violencia Familiar" No. 26260 was adopted in
December 1993 and was amended by the Law No. 26763 in March 1997.
Alcance de la ley
Por la present Ley, se establece la polftica del
Estado y de la sociedad frente a la violencia familiar,
asf como las medidas de protecci6n que
Definici6n de violencia familiar
A los efectos de la present Ley, se entenderA por
violencia familiar cualquier acci6n u omisi6n que
cause dafio fisico o psicol6gico, maltrato sin lesi6n,
inclusive la amenaza o coacci6n graves y/o
reiteradas, asi como la violencia sexual, que se
b. Ex c6nyuges
d. Ex convivientes
g. Parientes colaterales hasta el cuarto grado de
consanguinidad y segundo de afinidad
h. Quienes habitan en el mismo hogar, siempre
que no medien relaciones contractuales o
Oefensorlas del Nifo y del Adolescente y
servicios municipales para que asuman una
funci6n eficaz en la lucha contra la violencia
familiar. Las acciones dispuestas en el
present artfculo seran coordinadas par el
Ministerio de PromociOn de la Mujer y del
Desarrollo Humano.,l;e (6A)
h) Establecer las medidas necesarias a fin de
implementer acciones de prevenci6n y atenci6n
de la violencia familiar en las zonas rurales del
De la Intervencl6n de la Pollcia Nacional
De la denuncla policlal
La Policla Nacional, en todas las delegaciones
policiales, recibird las denuncias por violencia
familiar y realizard las investigaciones preliminaries
correspondientes, dentro de los cinco dias hibiles
lM, ataisimFowxunve nu.mw .Taf)Braitcriunivflvniiishy..tu s
djtrJA*nsic lsm r EmaMA EI~
[1 h jorm ibtfxrn rX LeteraiSef.f Aireamotrk,,adiardoiWa.0
tada para allanar el domicilio del agresor. DeberA
detener a 6ste en caso de tiagranie delto y realizard
la investigacin en un plazo mAximo de 24 horse
poniendo el atestado en conocimiento de la fiscalia
provincial que corresponda en un plazo mAximo de
De igual manera podra conducir de gradeo tuerza al
denunciado renuente a la delegacidn policial para el
esclarecimiento de los hechos denunciados.t o)
Del Atestado Policial
El atestado policial sera remitido al Juez de Paz o
Fiscal Provincial en to Penal, segin correspond, y
al Fiscal de Familia, para ejercer las atribuciones
que le sefiala la present lay.
La parts interesada podrd Igualmente pedir copia
del atestado pars los efectos que consider
pertinent o solicitar su remisi6n al juzgado que
conociere de un process sobre la material o vinculado
De la Intervencldn del MInisterlo PLiblico
Del conocimiento y acclones Iniciales del Fiscal Provincial
Bcufci*(w(Akha* Iaatt7iijtXi fiamea TM? IR
de recibida la denuncia, bajo respcnsabilidad. Las
denuncias podran ser formuladas por la victim o
cualquier persona que conozca de estos hechos y
podrAn ser presentadas en forma verbal a escrita.()
De los formularios tipo y de la capacitacl6n pollclal
Para tal efecto, el Ministerio del Interior expedira
formularios tipo, pars facilitar las denuncias y
asimismo, cartillas informativas de difusidn masiva.
Asimismo dispondrA la capacitacidn de personal
especializado en la Polrcia Nacional, para la atenci6n
en lo dispuesto on esta Ley. (9)
De la investigation polleal
La investigaci6n policial se sigue de oficio,
independientemenle del impulse del denunciante y
concluye con un part o atestado que contiene los
resultados de la investigacl r Durante la misma,
pueden solicitarse los informes necesarios para el
esclarecimiento de los hechos. La Policia Nacional,
a solicited de la victim brindara las garantias
necesarias en resguardo de su integridad.
De las atribuclones espeefflcas de la Policea
En case de flagrante delito o de muy grave peligro
de su perpetraci6n, la Policia Nacional esta facul-
31i 4a Frxr &cila we lA"nc d rg naMMi LNa 3 aUcsc M aIM 5tJ''
El Fiscal Provincial de Familia que correspond,
dara trAmite a las peticiones que se formuten
verbalmente o per escrito en form direct por la
victims de violencia, sus familiares. cualquiera de
los mencionados en el Articulo 2t de esta ley o
cualquier persona qua conozca de los hechos, o
por remisi6n del atestado de las delegaciones
policiales. Tambi6n podrA actuar de oficio ante el
conocimiento de los hechos.(It)
De las medidas de protecci6n Inmedlatas
Recibida ta peticidn o apreciados de oficio los
hechos, el Fiscal deberA dictar, balo responsabilidad,
las medidas de protecci6n inmediatas que la
Las medidas de protecci6n inmediatas que se
adopten a solicitud de la vfctima, o por orden del
Fiscal incluyen sin que la enumeracion sea limitativa.
el retire del agresor del domicilio, impediment de
acoso a la vfctima, suspension temporal de visits,
inventarios sobre sus bienes y otras medidas de
protecci6n inmediata que garanticen su integridad
fisica, psiquico y moral.
El Fiscal de Familia debe poner en conocimiento
del Juez de Familia las medidas de protecci6n
adopiadas, en case de formalizar la demanda.(12)
i QAra2~!mIxlkporWal Atm i' lxals N;',W6sal l-0
I M t VAei~~cieA ih'fBL- MW25ZOaik5C
De la solIcitud de medidas cautelares De los efectos de la concillacidn
Artfoulo 11i Art(culo 15V
Si la seguridad de lavictima o de su familiar requinera Eliminado por el artculo 2 de la ley 27982 del 28-
de una decision jurisdiccional, solicitar las 05-03.
medidas cautelares pertinentes al Juez
Especializado de Familia, las que se tramitardn De laegtimidad procesal
como Medidas Anticipadas fuera de process, de Artfculo 16
canrmidad CO Cutminada la investigacikn, el Fiscal, ademss de
conformidad on dispuesto par los Articuos 635 haber dictado las medidas do protecci6n inmediatas,
y siguientes del C6digo Procesal Civil. Es inlerpondra demands ante el Juez de Famloa, la que
especiatmente procedente la solicitud de uia se tramitar* con arreglo a Io dispuesto an el Artlculo
asignaci6n anticipada de alimertos. Las medidas 18' de las proesentO lay. (14)
cautelares se concederan sin el requisite de
De la potestad especial del Fiscal Provincial
Para el ejercicio de su funci6n. el Fiscal gozari de la
potestad de libra access a los lugares piblicos o
privados donde exist peligro de perpetraci6n de
violencia o 6sta se haya producido.(s3)
De la conclllaci6n ante el Fiscal Provincial
Eliminado par el articulo 2 de la lay 27982 del 28-
De las facultades del Fiscal Provincial en la conclllacl6n
Eliminado por el articulo 2 de la ley 27982 del 28-
-'3 r4arctmpxakdAmrcsif I'bLayWT1 'gLb;3S t ofa 1507.a
Juez Especializado de Familia del lugar donde
domicilia la victim o del lugar de la agresidn,
De la regltlmidad procesal
El process se inicia per demand:
a) De la victim de violencia o su represenlante.
b) Del Fiscal de Familia.
Las pretensiones sobre Violencia Familiar se
tramitan coma Proceso Onico, conform a las
disposiciones del C6digo de los Niios y
Adolescentes, con las modificaciones que en esta
ley se detallan.
Es improcedente el abandon an los process de
viotencia familiar. (1s)
De ta sentencla
La resoluci6n judicial qua pone fin al process
determinarA si ha exisido o no violencia familiar y
a) Las medidas de protecci6n en favor de )a
victim pudiendo ordenar entire otras, ia
suspension temporal de la cohabitaci6n, la
salida temporal del agresor del domicilio, la
prohibicl6n temporal de toda clase de visits
De las otrasa unclones Oel isca r-ovnm
Corresponded ademrs, al Ministerio POblico en su
funcidn tuitiva visitor periddicamente las
dependencias policiales para conocer sobre la
existencia de denuncias sobre violencia familiar, e
intervenir de oficio cuando corresponda conforme
De la Intervencl6n Judicial
Sub Cepitulo Primero
De la Intervencl6n del Juez
Especlalizedo de Familla
De la competencia del Juez Especlalizado de Familla
Corresponde el conocimiento de los process al
fl4AtoalrA m~r 1 *u>NB2313
por pate del agresor, ademms de cualquier otra
forma de acoso para la victim, entire otras,
conform Io prescribe el segundo parralo del
Adlculo 10 de esta Lay.
b) El tratarnieno que debe recibir la victim, su
familiar y el agresor, si se estima convenient.
c) La reparaci6n del dano.
d) El estsblecimienlo de una pens16n de alimentos
para la victim, cuando correspond
legaimente, si a criteria del juzgado ello es
necesario pars su subsistencla.
En atencd6n a la funcion tuitiva de este process, el
Juez puede agregar a su decision los mandates que
aseguren la eficacia de las pretensions exigidas y
los derechos esenciales de la vfctima.
De aI ejecucl6n forzosa
En caso de incumplimiento de las medidas
decretadas, el Juez ejercera las facultades
coercitivas, contempladas on los Art(culos 532 del
C6digo Procesal Civil y 205* del C6digo de los Ninos
y Adolescentes, sin perjuicio de las responsabi-
lidades penales, a que hubieran lugar.
De las medldas cautelares y concillactln ante el Juez de
El Juez podra adoplar medidas cautelares
anticipadas sobre el fondo, desde la iniciaci6n del
process y durante su tramitaci6n, sujetindose en
tal caso, a lo previsto por el C6digo Procesal Civil De las medidas de protecei6n
Podrd ejercer igualmente la facultad de conciliacidn Articulo 26~
en los t6rminos previstoa por el Articulo 132 de lI Cuando el Juez en to Penal o el de Paz Letrado,
presented Ley. conozcan de delilos o lallas cuyo origen seen hechos
de violencia familiar, estan facultados para adoptar
De las medidas de proteccion todas las medidas de protecci6n que selala la
Articulo 249 present Ley.
Si el Juez Penal adopt medidas cautelares Las medidas rlteridas en el parrato anterior, podrAn
necesarias para salvaguardar la integridad de la adoptarse desde la iniclacibn del process, durante
vfctima, no procederd ninguna solicitud en la via su tramitaci6n y al dictar sentencia, apicando en to
civil. que fuere pertinente, lo dispuesto por el Codigo
Procesal Civil. Podran imponerse igualmente como
Las medidas de protecci6n civil, pueden sin restricciones de conduct, al moment de ordenar
embargo, solicitarse antes de la iniciacion del la comparecencia del inculpado y al dictar sentencia
process, como medidas cautelares fuera de bajo apercbirniento de ordenar detenci6n en caso
proceso.(if) de incumplimienlo.
Sub Capitulo Segundo
intervenci6n del Juez
Especfaliazdo en Io Penal
De las medidas cauterares
Dictado el auto apertorio de instrucci6n por hechos
tipificados como delitos y que se relacionan con la
violencia familiar, correspond al Juez dictar de oficio
las medidas cautelares que seiala la presented Ley, asf
como, segdn )a naluraleza o gravedad de los hechos, o
su reiteracidn, disponer la detencidn del encausado.
(rn asaffnclmb1r aWMWt[ Ib flLsyNW27n u ln-a*ai.nr
DISPOSICIONES COMUNES A TODOS
De la reserve de las actuaclones
Los antecedentes y documentaci6n correspon-
diente a los process se mantendran en reserve,
salvo para las parties, letrados y experts
intervinientes. Las actuaciones tenderan a seo
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