Although prohibited by law, domestic violence in Ecuador is widespread. The law provides penalties for domestic violence of up to US$28 or seven days in prison, creates family courts, and gives courts the power to remove an abusive spouse from the home if continued cohabitation creates a risk to the victim of abuse. The courts may also issue restraining orders prohibiting the abusive spouse from approaching the victim or her place of employment or study; prohibiting the abusive spouse from persecuting or intimidating the victim or any member of her family; reinserting the victim into the family home, if shared, while simultaneously removing the abusive spouse from the premises; and ordering any treatment deemed beneficial to the affected family.
The Office of Gender, in the Ministry of Government, reported 68,184 cases of sexual, psychological, or physical mistreatment of women during 2006. Women may file complaints against a rapist or an abusive spouse or companion only if they produce a witness. Thirty special Police Stations for Women and Families handled issues including domestic violence. The government's National Commission on Women (CONAMU) may accept complaints about abuse of women but must refer cases to the prosecutor's office for action. CONAMU has projects in all provinces, focusing primarily on equal opportunities, public policy programs toward women, and lines of credit for women's businesses. CONAMU also offers legal and psychological services to victims of violence in most provinces. In some police stations, social workers employed by city governments or NGOs assist victims. A variety of NGOs offer legal and psychological assistance to victims of domestic violence.