Bolivia: New Measures to Protect Women from Domestic Violence
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 1:40 PM

On Tuesday, Bolivian President Evo Morales signed new regulatory measures to strengthen Bolivia’s laws on domestic violence. The new regulations will allocate funds to build shelters for women and will enhance the capabilities of the Bolivian Task Force Against Violence (Fuerza Especial de Lucha contra la Violencia), or FELCV. These provisions update Bolivia’s 2013 law on violence against women, also known as Law 348, the Comprehensive Law to Guarantee Women a Life Free of Violence (Ley Integral para Garantizar a las Mujeres una Vida Libre de Violencia). According to the World Health Organization, more than half of all Bolivian women have experienced some form of domestic violence during their lifetime.

The United Nations commended Bolivia for enacting Law 348, which created the FELCV and punished gender-related killings, or femicides, with up to 30 years in prison. However, Law 348 as written lacked adequate enforcement and regulatory mechanisms, leading many Bolivian judges to ignore the law. Bolivia’s Minister of Justice hopes the new regulations will address these issues by establishing “mechanisms, measures and comprehensive policies for prevention, care, protection and redress to women victims of violence.” The Minister also said the regulations will improve prosecution and punishment of domestic violence perpetrators.

Despite the new regulations, Bolivian prosecutors say they still lack the resources to adequately combat domestic violence. Only ten Bolivian prosecutors have received specialized domestic violence training. In some Bolivian districts, prosecutors handle on average more than 500 domestic violence cases each year. 

Compiled from: Bolivia: New Law to Fight Violence Against Women, teleSUR (October 14, 2014); Bolivia strengthens measures to stop violence against women (Bolivia fortalece las medidas para frenar la violencia contra las mujeres), America Economia (October 14, 2014); Morales Tackles Domestic Violence in Bolivia, Americas Quarterly (October 15, 2014); UN welcomes new Bolivian law broadening protection of women from violence, U.N. News Centre (March 12, 2013).