Women in Mexico let down by failures in justice system

Demonstration in Cuernavaca, Morelos State, Mexico, to demand for justice for women victims of violence. November 2006

Demonstration in Cuernavaca, Morelos State, Mexico, to demand for justice for women victims of violence. November 2006

© Jorge Medina Palomino


1 August 2008

Thousands of Mexican women who face violence in their homes are being put at risk of further abuse by a justice system that often fails to take their safety seriously, according to a new Amnesty International report.

Mexico: Women's struggle for justice and safety: Violence in the family in Mexico says that one in four women in Mexico has suffered abuse at the hands of their partner.

Susana, a 24-year-old mother of two from Sonora state, faced 10 years of physical and psychological violence. Her husband imprisoned her in her home for long periods, and she suffered broken bones in her hand, a fractured nose and a dislocated collarbone.

Susana filed numerous complaints at the local public prosecutor’s office, but each time was told that it was not a crime and there was nothing they could do. When a case was finally opened and her husband charged, he was detained for just one day before being released on bail. Susana and her family remained in hiding until being referred to a women’s shelter.

Reporting abuse
Women face a range of obstacles when trying to report cases of domestic violence, including:
  • the refusal of officials to accept complaints
  • deficient investigations
  • poor enforcement of protective measures
Women who find the courage to report the abuse are often treated with indifference and have to prove they are subject to violence. In many cases, officials even ask them to deliver summons to their aggressor.  

Law to stop violence against women
Mexico passed a law to counter violence against women 18 months ago, The General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free From Violence. Since then, many states have approved similar legislation. These are positive first steps, but unless the law is properly funded and enforced, it will make little difference to the lives of the many women at risk.

Amnesty International has called on Mexico’s federal and state authorities to:
  • Make a public commitment to implement the new laws guaranteeing women’s rights to safety and justice and to make sure that there is sufficient funding to put the laws into practice effectively.
  • Ensure effective access to justice and timely protection measures for women who have suffered violence in the family.

Mexico: Women's struggle for justice and safety: Violence in the family in Mexico

Download:
Index Number: AMR 41/021/2008
Date Published: 1 August 2008
Categories: Mexico

This report tells the story of many women suffering violence and describes the obstacles they face in accessing safety and justice in Mexico. It shows how women who try to report violence are often met with discrimination. New legislation to guarantee women's right to a life free from violence was introduced in 2007. Amnesty International calls for effective implementation of the new law and on authorities to adopt the organization's 14-point programme to ensure access to justice and effective protection for women suffering family violence.


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