LN – Having nowhere to go. Quarantine worsens drama of victims of violence

Lack of money and difficulty accessing shelters are the main obstacles faced by victims of violence, according to a survey by the Justice and Gender Team (ELA); the quarantine exacerbated the problem and was the record period for femicides. Credit: shutterstock

One day Patricia said: “Up to here I arrived”. The certainty came from so deep inside that he knew that the time of the


, the manipulations and the isolation next to the father of his son had come to an end. Some months in a


They helped her rebuild enough to start again. Quite a challenge for her, who had barely been able to work while as a couple. How

remake life

, with a young son, when the minimum material resources are not available?

Mandatory isolation by

Pandemic further complicated their situation.

And not just because of the inability to get a job that guarantees you pay the rent and give your child the basics. Patricia (a name chosen to preserve her) speaks to LA NACION from an apartment located in a place unknown to her ex-partner. The terror of finding her is evident in her voice. She knows that he is pressuring his family and acquaintances in every possible way to find out the address. He also knows that they


, but Justice does not act. Therefore, it permanently measures what to say and what not, to avoid any danger that he will discover it between these words.

The start of the

quarantine had a negative impact

in the lives of many women, girls, adolescents, transvestites and trans people who suffer or have suffered violence. There was a femicide every 27 hours from the start of the confinement, according to data from the La Casa del Encuentro civil association.

Until the 14th of this month there were 49, the highest number in the same period in the last ten years

. On the other hand, according to the Ministry of Women, Genders and Diversity of the Nation, during the first weeks of isolation, calls to line 144, which provides care and referral, also increased by 39%.

But the health emergency also reveals other mechanisms that hinder the search for

help in situations of violence

: How to report or leave the home when the means to solve it are not available? How to ask for the exclusion of the aggressor from the home in a pandemic context, when he has nowhere to go? How to do that, despite the complaint, the aggressor does not ignore the economic responsibility that corresponds to him around the maintenance of the children?

Among others, these are the

main concerns that victims of violence

pose when they approach to ask for help from specialized NGOs. This was the origin of the report “The gaps in public policies. Views from civil society on the approach to gender-based violence in the time of COVID-19”, carried out by the Latin American Justice and Gender Team (ELA) together with other organizations, within the framework of the Closing Gaps project, which has the support of the European Union.

The study, to which LA NACION exclusively agreed, is a qualitative and quantitative survey for which the

48 activists and NGOs from across the country

who work with women, adolescents, girls, transvestites and trans people who suffer violence. Among the main concerns they see in assisted people, 73% highlighted the availability and access to material resources; 71%, obtain alternative housing to achieve exclusion from the home for the aggressor, and 63% mentioned being able to access a shelter after reporting.

The survey included interviews with referents and presents some passages from those conversations that are very illustrative. “When they decide to make the complaint, the first question that arises is what we do with these women financially. We take them to a shelter,

we know they will be taken care of

, that your children will be fine. But how long will they be there? “Said María del Carmen Lucena, from the Huellas de Mujer organization, in the province of Santa Fe.

Patricia’s case reflects that dilemma. “I banked a lot of things with him for not having anywhere to go or with what. Now that my situation is different, because of the quarantine I cannot work. I receive help from the State and the refuge, but

I pay a rent and it is difficult to make ends meet

. And if the quarantine is lifted, I would have nowhere to leave my son to go back to work, “he laments. Also, feeling the constant stalking of your ex, is also a constant concern.

Among the main concerns they see in assisted people, 73% highlighted the availability and access to material resources; 71%, obtain alternative housing to achieve exclusion from the home for the aggressor, and 63% mentioned being able to access a shelter after reporting.

Natalia Gherardi, executive director of ELA, remarks that “a great problem is the ineffectiveness of the judicial measures”, because ”

all material and subjective obstacles to access to justice were aggravated in the crisis

In addition, he maintains that, when access is finally achieved, “it is essential that it articulate with the security forces and local governments for that protection order to be effective.”

A look at longstanding shortcomings

With the beginning of the quarantine, some shelters closed their doors to avoid contagion indoors. Others, even from before, have restrictions regarding children. In some, for example, male children over the age of 14 cannot enter. Florencia Alderisi, a reference in Mendoza, pointed out that in her province “there are very few shelters” and that “none of them could go with their daughters and sons.” Like other voices consulted, Alderisi stressed that “the pandemic comes to crystallize many flaws that the State has in this matter and that they are a debt.”

65% of organizations mentioned that, with mandatory isolation,

compliance with precautionary measures became more difficult to monitor

that weigh on some aggressors. Similarly, for 58%, court cases are not processed quickly enough. And in remote areas, with accessibility problems -real and / or virtual- the problems are aggravated. “Where there is no drinking water, there is no gas. It is all more complex. And there is also no connectivity with the city in relation to transport routes,” said Paula Cortes, from the organization La Hoguera, from Tierra del Fuego.

Although the survey covered the entire country, the largest volume of responses came from the City and the provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Córdoba and Santa Fe. The diagnosis of the situation that victims of violence are currently experiencing also provided information on NGOs themselves. For example

the economic resources they have are limited: only 19% receive some state support


At this time, 75% of the organizations that assist and accompany victims of violence recognize that their main challenge is the difficulty of having funds to finance their activity.

Another relevant fact is the positive assessment that the organizations made of most of the measures implemented by the Government to stop the violence during this quarantine. However, Gherardi remarks that the institutions “also show that this information does not reach the entire country” and called ”

support the work of local organizations

s that, from the diversity of the territory and with an intersectional approach, they are accompanying many situations. “It also underlines the need” to ensure that the crisis does not destroy women’s employment and their possibilities of having financial resources. ”



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