El Salvador

Population size: 


Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

Women who have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime: 14.3%.

Physical and/or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence in the last 12 months against women: 5.9%.

Lifetime Non-Partner Sexual Violence against women: Official National Statistics Not Available.[2]

67% of Salvadoran women have suffered some form of violence in their lifetime, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence and abuse by family members, a 2017 national survey found. But only 6% of victims had reported abuse to authorities.[3]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

No research.

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

No research.

Current law and policy:

El Salvador commits to implementing policies to increase gender equality and decrease the prevalence of violence against women. Implemented a National Equality Plan (2016-2020) for adomestic violenceancing equality in El Salvador and is the main public policy tool of the state for gender equality under national, sectoral and municipal scope. In 2013, El Salvador adopted a ‘National Policy on Access to a Violence-Free Life for Women’, creating a Five-Year Development Plan (2014–2019) to guide implementation of the policy. Measures included the creation of special courts to handle crimes against women, institutional gender units, and specialized support units. Since its creation, the specialised support units have handled 1600 cases of violence and aided in therapy and rehabilitation. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed discussion of implementing a new plan.

In 2017, six new courts were established with US aid with a specific focus on crimes against women. Judges for these courts are trained against biased behaviour. Further, in 2018, the the Attorney General’s Office launched a new women’s unit (National Directorate for Women, Children, Adolescents, LGBT and vulnerable groups) to tackle violence against women, led by Ana Garciela Sagastume, the chief prosecutor on all female homicide cases across El Salvador.

El Salvador does not provide information on the monitoring and evaluation phase of its policies and national plans to address violence against women making it difficult to track progress.

Domestic violence is considered socially acceptable by a large portion of the population and there crimes against women are underreported because of the legitimate fear of reprisal. Violence against women is widespread and ineffectively investigated, prosecuted and adjudicated. 

In September, the UN announced an €15 million contribution to end femicide in Latin America. €11 million will go to El Salvador.[4]

2018 El Salvador’s attorney general announced the creation of a new unit to oversee crimes related to violence against women, girls, LGBTQI people and other groups vulnerable to violence.[5]

Frontline Services:



[1] The World Bank, (1).

[2] UN Women, “Global Database on Violence Against Women – El Salvador”, (evaw-global-database.unwomen.org).

[3] https://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/violence-against-women-el-salvador-driving-them-suicide-or-us-border

[4] https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/GSH2018/GSH18_Gender-related_killing_of_women_and_girls.pdf

[5] https://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/violence-against-women-el-salvador-driving-them-suicide-or-us-border

Further Reading

[1] https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/a25626891/el-salvador-femicide-crisis/

[2] http://www.lse.ac.uk/women-peace-security/assets/documents/2019/NAP/El-Salvador-NAP-2017-2022-DP160100212.pdf

[3] https://www.theadomesticviolenceocatesforhumanrights.org/uploads/el_salvador_gender-based_violence_march_2018.pdf

[4] http://www.fiscalia.gob.sv/fiscal-general-inaugura-direccion-nacional-de-la-mujer-ninez-adolescencia-lgbti-y-grupos-vulnerables/

[5] https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/UNDP-RBLAC-ReportVCMEnglish.pdf

[6] https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/03/07/el-salvador-kills-women-as-the-us-shrugs/