In Chile...

In Chile, domestic violence is often referred to as la violencia privada, the private violence (Ceballo, Ramirez, Castillo, Caballero and Lozoff, 2004).

Based on a report by the US Department of State, “domestic violence against women is a serious problem. A 2004 National Women's Service (SERNAM) study reported that 50 percent of married women have suffered spousal abuse; 34 percent reported having suffered physical violence and 16 percent psychological abuse. From 2002 to 2003, approximately 91 percent of the calls the Carabineros received regarding domestic violence related to aggression against women; Carabineros made arrests in 88 percent of their responses to domestic disputes” (US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2005).

In a sample of women from Santiago, “26% of women reported at least one episode of violence by a partner, 11% reported at least one episode of severe violence and 15% of women reported at least one episode of less severe violence” (UNICEF, 2000).

According to the United Nations Populations Fund, “most laws remain inadequate in protecting abused women or in imposing sanctions against abusers. Some laws even trap women in violent relationships. In Chile, for example, divorce is illegal even in cases of extreme violence” (United Nations Populations Fund, 2007).

Based on a World Health Organization report, a study of battered women in Chile showed that 40% experienced increased abuse during pregnancy (Panos, 1998).

A study carried out by UNICEF in Chile shows the high incidence of violence on children: “close to 75% of the children experienced some type of violence; more than half referred to physical violence, and 25% were cases of acute physical violence” (UNICEF, 2000b).

In Santiago, Chile, “three percent of young women report that rape was their first sexual experience. Even young children may contract HIV from forced sex, often with close acquaintances, such as family members or 'trusted' friends. Mothers often know that their children are being abused, yet are afraid to speak out” (United Nations, 1999).

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