For survivors of gender-based violence in Peru's Ayacucho region, I am filing a police complaint that used to be a daunting experience. On top of dealing with the trauma itself, women — many of whom live in poverty and come from rural and marginal urban areas — had to visit several offices to complete the paperwork and wait months, or even years, for a judge to order police protection.
The administrative hassle severely limited the number of women seeking police assistance. Only 37 percent of survivors called the police to report abuse, while 54 percent preferred to seek help from family members or friends, according to a 2018 survey. These are significant figures in a region where the same survey found that 1 in 3 women had suffered violence from their partner.
"Gender-based violence [here] is a structural problem rooted in society," said Richard Sarmiento Quinta, a former official from the Municipality of Huamanga. "We understood that the unique way to really respond to this problem was through an integrated approach [that avoids] re-victimizing the victim."
In late 2015, Peru passed a law that, for the first time, guaranteed police protection for survivors of gender-based violence. But it did not commit resources to extend these protections to hard-to-reach areas.
After consulting with local communities, the justice system, and partners, including UNFPA, the Huamanga Provincial Municipality decided to enforce the law by deploying a response system carried out by judges specialized in family law, police officers and social workers. In that framework, the Emotional Social Care Centre (CASE, by the Spanish acronym) was implemented as a provincial initiative that articulates the competences of institutions responsible for processing cases of violence, providing multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary care to the victims.
Tags : Ayacucho section, Richard Sarmiento Quinta, Municipality of Huamanga,