Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
HARTIGAN, Pamela. PAHO focuses on the problem of violence against women. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1997, vol.2, n.4, pp. 290-294. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891997001000023.
In Latin American and the Caribbean, a woman who is abused by her partner tends to deny the fact that she is the object of violence out of embarrassment, fear of revenge on the part of the assailant, or tacit consent on the part of the family and society at large. If she finally appeals to the justice or health care system, no one alleviates her circumstances, since both sectors operate independently and less efficiently than if intersectoral coordination existed. In June 1994 PAHO initiated a project in 16 countries involving the creation within the community of branches of the justice and health care systems, police, churches, non-government organizations, and community groups. These meet on a regular basis with the aim of launching a coordinated response to domestic violence. At the national level, the project fosters policies and legal norms that strengthen the institutional capacity to respond to the problem. Links with the media are also being promoted in order to combat social beliefs and attitudes that lead to women being abused in their own homes.