Domestic violence in Peru
In 2006, Ministry of Women and Social Development (MIMDES) centers reported 25,036 cases of domestic violence in Peru. The centers helped an average of 2,067 men and women per month. MIMDES also operated a toll-free hot line, which handled 7,785 requests for assistance regarding family disturbances during 2006.
Women's organizations noted that alcohol abuse and traditional attitudes toward women aggravated the problems of rape and sexual abuse - particularly in rural areas. In November 2006, the World Health Organization reported that 69 percent of Peruvian women said they had suffered from some form of physical violence in their lives.
MIMDES and NGOs stated that many domestic abuse cases went unreported. NGO sources stated that the majority of reported cases did not result in formal charges because of fear of retaliation or because of the expense of filing a complaint. The legal and physical protections offered were limited because of legal delays, ambiguities in the law, and the lack of shelters for victims.
The law prohibits domestic violence, and penalties range from one month to six years in prison. The law gives judges and prosecutors the authority to prevent the convicted spouse or parent from returning to the family's home and authorizes the victim's relatives and unrelated persons living in the home to file complaints of domestic violence.
The law also allows health professionals to document injuries. The law requires police investigation of domestic violence to take place within five days and obliges authorities to extend protection to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
Resources for victims
MIMDES runs the Women's Emergency Program, which seeks to address the legal, psychological, and medical problems facing victims of domestic violence. As of 2006 MIMDES operated 39 centers, bringing together police, prosecutors, counselors, and public welfare agents together to help victims of domestic abuse.
MIMDES continues efforts to sensitize government employees and the citizenry to domestic violence. In 2006, the Ombudsman's Office continued to complain that police officers reacted indifferently to charges of domestic violence, despite legal requirements to investigate the complaints. Also in 2006, female community leaders, former members of congress, and local media outlets launched awareness campaigns to provide citizens with more information about domestic violence.