As reported by the Health Surveillance Directorate of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health, our nation is confronting a deeply concerning rise in domestic violence cases. In recent years, particularly since 2020, there has been a notable and troubling increase in such incidents.
Costa Rica has registered over 30,000 domestic violence complaints over the past four years, with an alarming 10,000 cases reported in 2023 alone. This escalation is evident in the statistics: domestic violence cases surged from 170 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020 to 420 per 100,000 as of November 11, 2023. These figures represent a distressing trend, revealing the growing magnitude of violence within homes across our nation.
It’s important to note that these numbers represent the count of complaints rather than individuals. This suggests that many women might be experiencing repeated instances of domestic violence. The increase is stark, from 4,281 cases attended in 2020 to 10,962 in 2023, painting a grim picture of the situation in Costa Rica.
Alarmingly, underage women are increasingly victims of this violence, accounting for nearly half of the affected individuals. In 2023, the most vulnerable groups included infants under one year, girls aged 10 to 14, and teenagers between 15 to 19 years, suffering from neglect, abandonment, physical, and psychological abuse.
Geographically, the province of Puntarenas has been most affected for the fourth consecutive year, followed by Alajuela, Limón, San José, Cartago, Guanacaste, and Heredia. These regions have become focal points for addressing and combating domestic violence.
Regionally, the Americas are witnessing a similar trend, where one in three women has experienced intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in her life. The prevalence of sexual, physical, and emotional violence by male partners is alarmingly high.
Experts warn that the impact of such violence is profound and long-lasting, affecting women’s physical and mental health and hindering their social and personal development. The ongoing rise in domestic violence cases in Costa Rica is not just a statistic but a clarion call for urgent action to protect vulnerable women and children in our society.