Nicaragua: Harmful Reforms to Law that Criminalizes Violence against Women

Nicaraguan Law 779, which criminalizes violence against women, has been in effect since June 2012. Opponents to the law claimed that it was unconstitutional because it prohibits mediation between victim and abuser. The Nicaraguan Supreme Court considered this and the parliament approved reforms in September.  The reform allows mediation to take place for criminal acts with a penalty of less than five years, which can include cases of sexual harassment or assault, psychological violence, and domestic violence where physical injuries are deemed “light.” The reform only excludes criminal acts that surpass the five-year penalty and femicide.
 
Although the Nicaraguan Supreme Court has insisted that mediation is voluntary, economic reliance on husbands or boyfriends and family responsibilities adds pressure on women to agree to mediation. The reform also has implications that violent crimes will go unreported, as many victims would feel obligated to agree to the mediation. 
 
Compiled from: Schechter, Emily, Nicaraguan law update ‘piles pressure on women to face abusers’The Guardian (27 September 2010).