Sexual Violence in Latin America and the
Caribbean: A Desk Review
A limited but growing body of evidence suggests that sexual violence is a serious problem throughout
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) – both as a public health problem and a violation of human rights. This document - produced by the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI), in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Ipas - reviews what is known about sexual violence in the LAC region by exploring the magnitude, patterns and risk factors associated with sexual violence, as well as the legal and policy frameworks, women’s responses to sexual violence, access to services and service responses, promising interventions, research gaps and priorities for future research.
Over two hundred published and unpublished documents from 2000 to the present were reviewed to prepare this document. Studies reviewed highlight evidence that sexual violence is a pervasive problem in the region and suggest that, in LAC, women are most at risk of sexual violence from intimate partners. Population-based surveys have found that the lifetime prevalence of forced sex by an intimate partner ranges from 5% to 47%. In addition, a substantial minority of women and girls experience sexual abuse by non-partners, as indicated by a review of studies from LAC that found between 8% and 27% of women report having experienced sexual violence by a non-partner.
As this review will illustrate, some recent progress has been made in the region to develop strategies to prevent and respond to sexual violence. These advances include improvements to policy and legal frameworks, as well as efforts to strengthen prevention and response strategies, most notably in urban areas. PAHO is proud to join efforts to raise awareness about sexual violence in the region and is working to improve the availability and use of data on various forms of violence against women to improve prevention and programmatic efforts.
This publication is presently available in Spanish and will be published in English and Portuguese by October 2011.
Violencia sexual en Latinoamérica y El Caribe: Análisis de datos secundarios (Marzo 2010)