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PROMOTING EMPOWERMENT AND ASSISTANCE SERVICES

A crucial step in addressing gender-based violence is to educate women about their fundamental rights. All women and girls have the right to a dignified life free from violence and discrimination in all aspects of life. Women's rights are considered human rights and are recognized in both national and international laws and conventions.

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¿What is gender-based violence?

Gender-based violence is a deeply rooted and widespread problem in Latin America, encompassing a series of physical, sexual, and psychological abuses that disproportionately affect women. High rates of feminicide, sexual assault, and domestic violence are prevalent throughout the region, reflecting deeply embedded cultural norms that perpetuate gender inequality and toxic masculinity.

 

Factors such as machismo, economic disparities, and inadequate legal frameworks contribute to a climate in which aggressors often act with impunity. Despite growing awareness and advocacy, the complex interplay of social, cultural, and economic factors continues to pose significant challenges in addressing and eradicating gender-based violence in Latin America.

 

Efforts to combat this problem require comprehensive strategies that address both the immediate consequences and root causes, fostering social change towards gender equality and promoting the protection and empowerment of women. Below you will find the three most common types of gender violence.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

 

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior, including physical and emotional abuse, in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  There is a wide range of laws on domestic or intrafamily violence throughout Latin America. However, cases of femicide and violence against women and girls are faced with impunity, and efforts to integrate prevention and responses to gender-based domestic violence in justice systems vary widely. 

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

 

Sexual violence is any action that forces a person to maintain sexual contact, physical or verbal, or to participate in other sexual interactions without their consent. It is important to keep in mind that sexual violence can also happen in relationships. Sexual violence causes profound physical and emotional repercussions that affect people, their families, and communities. It is a public health problem and a violation of human rights. 

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Sexual assault is defined as carrying out physical or sexual activities without the explicit consent of another person or when that person is incapable of giving consent, which may involve actions such as physical force, violence, intimidation, ignoring objections, inducing intoxication or incapacitation, or exploiting someone's impaired state, including voluntary intoxication.

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NCSC PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

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COSTA RICA

PROMESA

PROMESA (Promotion of Empowerment and Assistance Services), is a Latin American program of the NCSC based mainly in Costa Rica. PROMESA supports key institutional leaders who provide services to victims of gender violence, (including sexual assault and domestic violence) with a multidisciplinary approach. PROMESA provides training through the expansion of holistic, victim-centered methods and practices in providing trauma-informed care. Learn about our efforts to move toward a more compassionate and effective approach to supporting victims of gender-based violence, and strengthening justice systems through collaborative efforts.

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Working against domestic violence

In Costa Rica, the Law against Domestic Violence was enacted in 1996. It offers protection to mothers, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and those in abusive relationships. These people can request protective measures to ensure their safety, dignity, and well-being are maintained.

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Working against sexual violence

In Costa Rica, the Law Against Domestic Violence, in Article II, establishes that sexual violence exists when a person is forced to perform sexual acts through the use of force, intimidation, coercion, blackmail, manipulation, threats, or any other mechanism that prohibits or limits their personal consent.

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Working against sexual assault

NCSC reviewed, updated, and consolidated the content and graphic design of the Protocol for Comprehensive Inter-institutional Care for Victims of Gender-Based Violence. The Protocol guides the provision of comprehensive services to victims of sexual violence in the first 72 hours after the occurrence.

OTHER RESOURCES

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ACTION PLAN

The Inter-American Action Plan on Democratic Governance emphasizes the integration of judicial commitments in National Action Plans, highlighting the need for transparency, public participation and collaboration with civil society.

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THE AGENDA FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

The Regional Agenda for Digital Transformation provides a comprehensive roadmap and outlines 44 commitments in the key areas of digital ecosystems, connectivity, cybersecurity, and economic growth. 

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PRINCIPLES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR OPEN JUSTICE

The Inter-American Action Plan on Democratic Governance emphasizes the integration of judicial commitments in National Action Plans, highlighting the need for transparency, public participation, and collaboration with civil society.

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PROTECTION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

More information on how to access protective measures and recognize the signs of violence here: 

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RESOURCES FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

To learn more about sexual violence and access to valuable resources, visit:

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THE COMPREHENSIVE CARE PROTOCOL

The digital version of the Protocol for Comprehensive Interinstitutional Care for Victims of Gender Violence can be consulted here:

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GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE OBSERVATORY

Use the following link to access guides on identifying violence, imminent danger, and what you can do to protect yourself:

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