|The 'Hogar de los Entusiastas' shelter in Paraguay - the
Violence against women and girls in the family is
one of the most serious problems facing Paraguay. A 2002 report by the UN
Development Programme estimated that it accounts for some 25 per cent of violent
crime in the country with girls being particularly affected: 50 per cent of the
cases of violence against girls also include sexual violence. In more than a
third of cases the abuser is known to the victim.
Despite the scale of
the problem, there are no state institutions providing shelter for women who
experience violence. This makes it virtually impossible for women to escape
violent relationships and puts many women and their families at ongoing
In 2005 the Women’s State Secretary of Paraguay signed an agreement
to refer women at risk of violence to a church-based organization called the
Hogar gratuito los entusiastas (The Enthusiasts Free Shelter). The shelter was
set up to provide a safe place, food and accommodation for women fleeing
violence. However, it is woefully under-funded.
Teodora Cabrera, the
director of Hogar gratuito los entusiastas, told Amnesty International that the
shelter gets no financial support from the Paraguayan authorities. The hostel is
wholly dependent on donations from individuals and the people running it. She
acknowledges that the hostel does not have the resources to provide the kind of
comprehensive support the women need. The hostel lacks basic facilities as well
as the kind of services needed to put fractured lives back together, such as
psychologists, medical staff and medicines, and social workers.
authorities urgently need to set up refuges so women and children in Paraguay
facing violence can find safety. They also need to develop their work with
women’s rights organizations to increase the number of refuges and improve those
that already exist. Paraguay must meet the obligations it has agreed to under
CEDAW and Belem do Para.
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