Domestic Violence Is Not Reconciled, It Is Reported

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A reader recently wrote The Voice asking if we know of an agency that provides support to victims of violence since his neighbor had fled to San Jose to escape a violent boyfriend.

First I would like to refer to the impossibility of reconciling in situations of domestic violence, not only in the process of precautionary measures, but also in the other judicial processes that can result (divorce, visitation rights, etc.).

It’s important to point out that violence goes beyond hitting, shaking and bruising.  Sexual violence, psychological, verbal or emotional violence and financial abuse also exist. This last one is seen when the abused person in a marriage doesn’t have access to the bank account or the money but rather depends on the aggressor to be able to buy even personal items. This is a form of manipulation. In the case of the elderly who receive a pension, financial abuse happens when the caretakers (usually children or other close relatives) make use of the money or other belongings (property titles are sometimes transferred through deception or manipulation.)

The harm can come from a relative by blood, marriage or adoption, from a guardian or custodian, from a partner (dating, married or living together) and even in cases where the relationship no longer exists but the person assaults or threatens in an attempt to resume the relationship. In cases of people older than 65, a family relationship isn’t necessary

For the situations described, the person assaulted can seek information and guidance through the channels listed in the box below, depending on the type of victim involved. In addition, you can go to the nearest court and request a series of protective measures, including: the immediate departure of the aggressor from the shared dwelling, setting up a new dwelling for the person seeking protection from future attacks, confiscating weapons in the possession of the alleged aggressor, prohibiting the aggressor from threatening, intimidating, assaulting or disturbing the victim or any member of the nuclear family, prohibiting the alleged aggressor from entering the home, workplace or place of study of the victim and ordering the person to refrain from interfering in any way in the care, upbringing and education of the children.

Protective measures may be requested by people over 12 years of age. Children under 12 and people with disabilities, measures can be requested by their legal representatives, the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (National Children’s Board), a police authority or an adult, or public or private institutions that conduct programs to protect human and family rights.

Resources Available

• 911, which will refer you to the Instituto Nacional de la Mujer (for women), the Instituto de la Masculinidad (for men), the Consejo Nacional de la Persona Adulta Mayor (for the elderly) or the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (for children), depending on the case.

• Controller of Judicial Services, toll free: 800-800-3000

• Domestic Violence Court of Nicoya: 2685-9040

• Domestic Violence Court of Santa Cruz: 2681-4045

• Domestic Violence Court of Liberia: 2690-0169


A lawyer and mediator, Karla Montenegro is a certified mediator and conciliator at the Universidad Escuela Libre de Derecho and conciliatory judge of the Judicial Conciliation Center, in charge of the regional headquarters of Santa Cruz.