The experience of Peru, Spain and El Salvador to fight violence against women
Developing adequate information systems to protect girls and women contributes to achieving gender equality and sustainable development.
The violent death of women for gender-based reasons is the most extreme form of violence against women. Although particularities depend on the different socio-cultural contexts, femicide1 or feminicide* is a global phenomenon that has reached alarming proportions worldwide. According to the most recent data from ECLAC’s Gender Equality Observatory for Latin-America and the Caribbean (2020), which has official information from 15 Latin-American and 4 Caribbean countries, 4,555 women were victims of femicide or feminicide in 2019. However, real dimensions could be much larger, due to the under-registration of cases that are not adequately typified, among other reasons.
In this sense, preventing and reducing impunity related to feminicidal violence requires both the correct classification of feminicide cases and an information system that allows for a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the phenomenon, providing reliable data to design, implement and evaluate the most appropriate public policies.
In this context, the project Institutionalization of an information system that contributes to the qualitative and quantitative analysis of feminicidal violence in El Salvador, based on the experience of Peru and Spain, is especially relevant. The initiative precisely originates in the need to generate a Unique Registry of Victims of Feminicidal Violence in El Salvador that has standardized data to contribute to improve decision-making in terms of public policies for the prevention, care, protection and punishment of violence against women, as well as in related institutions and services.
In order to face this challenge, in 2018, the Salvadorean Institute for Women’s Development (ISDEMU by its Spanish acronym) launched a project to focus on the institutionalization of an information system that contributes to the qualitative and quantitative analysis of feminicidal violence and provides statistical information for the National System of Data and Statistics on Violence against Women. Accordingly, the project has been implemented on the basis of two lines of action:
- The first one is related to the generation of information, providing the unique registry of victims of feminicide with official and reliable data. For this purpose, the project promoted coordination and cooperation between the three institutions that, until 2018, registered homicide cases without standardized criteria, which made it difficult to count with reliable data. These institutions were the General Prosecution Office (FGR by its Spanish acronym), the Institute of Legal Medicine (IML by its Spanish acronym) and the National Civilian Police (PNC by its Spanish acronym).
- The second one addresses the applied analysis of the resulting information to improve public policy design. In fact, the project aims to design a methodological model for criminological analysis that will allow the monitoring of cases of women’s violent deaths, and the design of specific policies that contribute to stop this phenomenon.
*According to Diana Russell’s definition, who first used the term in the 1970s, femicide refers to all forms of sexist murder. Subsequently, and to further develop the previous concept, Marcela Lagarde coined the term feminicide, giving the act of killing a woman for being a female a political meaning, adding the lack of response by the State in these cases and the failure of the State to fulfill its obligations to investigate and punish, to her definition. For Lagarde, feminicide is therefore a State crime. However, in many cases, both terms are used as synonyms (Atencio and Laporta, 2012).
**Source: SEGIB based on Agencies and Directorates-General for Cooperation, Atencio and Laporta (2012), ECLAC’s Gender Equality Observatory for Latin-America and the Caribbean (2020) and www.feminicidio.net