Legislative Bill Advances to make any Form of Violence against Women a Criminal Felony in Costa Rica

Woman being kidnapped and abused

This past week, the Special Commission for Women of the Legislative Assembly unanimously ruled on project file number 21,793 “Law on Criminalization of Violence against Women.” In this regard, the deputy Aida María Montiel indicated: “I feel very satisfied as a woman and a citizen that today this Women’s Commission gives a positive signal amid so much consternation, and the bill to reform the Criminalization Law of Violence against Women, file 21,793.

Proposed modification

This proposes to include dating relationships or relationships and cohabitants, within the criminal categories that are not included in the law currently in force. Ex-partners and ex-spouses who are not in the Law are also included. 

The initiative proposes to reform subsection d) of Article 239 of the Criminal Procedure Code, so that preventive detention can be ordered in dating or cohabitation relationships, even when they have ended, to reinforce the protection of women victims of violence.

Also, the reference to the current law, that it is directed to women of legal age, was eliminated and this condition is eliminated, leaving its scope of application for all women. The wording of articles 1 and 2 is improved and the criminal types are modified so that they include crimes against a woman, in the context or on the occasion of a relationship, whether marital, de facto union, courtship, or coexistence, even in the event of divorce, separation or breakup.

According to INAMU data as of August this year, there have been 51 murders of women while last year there were 49 violent deaths against women. Finally, legislator Montiel Héctor stated: “This reform is a step forward and goes in the right direction to protect hundreds of women who live the scourge of discrimination and violence, for that, I thank the members of this Commission for facilitating and giving a purposeful and timely message.” After being passed, the bill will now go to the Legislative Plenary for final discussion.

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