Global Resources

A place in the world; The right to adequate housing as an essential element of a life free from domestic violence; The cases of Argentina, Brazil and Colombia

Publication Date: Jan 2010
Between 30 and 60 percent of women in Latin America have suffered from Domestic Violence. Do these women have safe-housing options to flee their abusers? This report by the Centre on Housing Rights and Eviction (COHRE) on domestic violence and housing in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia reveals that hundreds of thousands of women in these countries continue to live in homes where they suffer domestic violence because they have nowhere else to go. The absence of adequate housing, including emergency shelters, prevents survivors from escaping those who abuse them. This problem especially affects poor women in urban slum communities. It signals a lack of respect for the basic human rights that women have to choose between being homeless or living with an abuser. According to COHRE, policy makers have neglected to recognise the link between domestic violence and adequate housing for far too long. For example, in Argentina, an estimated one in three women are subjected to domestic abuse, yet in Buenos Aires, a city with over 12 million residents, there are only two government-run shelters. Among the policy recommendations contained in the conclusion is the strengthening of housing rights legislation at national levels to ensure that victims of domestic violence are prioritised in housing programmes.