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Population size: 

3,461,734 (2019) [1]

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

In 2018, according to the Ministry of Interior 39,950 reports of domestic violence. [2]

Also 'according to a 2018 United Nations study, Uruguay has Latin America’s second-highest rate of killings of women by current or former partners.' [3]

A separate study found that 40,000 cases were reported in 2019 and gender-based violence is the second most-reported crime in Uruguay. [4]

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:

In the first 45 days of lockdown, police reports of violence against women decreased by 8% compared to the same period last year. However, calls to a gender-based violence hotline increased by 80% during the first two months of lockdown. Therefore, it is likely that cases have increased but people are seeking help via remote methods rather than by going to the police. [5]

Current law and policy:

In 2002, Uruguay passed legislation that addresses the issue of domestic violence with Law No. 17514, which provides measures for the prevention, early detection, treatment and eradication of domestic violence (Uruguay 2002). However, it is still not clear if sexual crimes committed within a marriage are recognised as acts of violence. A local NGO, Casa de la Mujer de la Union, reported that the law is not effectively applied to the majority of domestic abuse cases.

There were some positive actions taken as a result of the 2002 law. Firstly, four specialised courts were created to address domestic abuse. Secondly, night courts were set up to deal with emergency situations. Thirdly, a cross-government ‘National Adomestic violenceisory Council against Domestic Abuse’ was established with representatives from different government agencies and civil society organisations. Fourth, the National Adomestic violenceisory Council wrote a National Plan to Combat Domestic Violence 2004-2010 which was implemented. It included training for public officials, assistance to survivors and mainstreaming of gender issues in government departments. Fifth, departmental commissions for combating domestic violence were established in 11 municipal governments. Sixth, health authorities addressed domestic violence as a public health issue. Sixth, the Ministry of Public Health published procedures for providing first aid to domestic violence victims. Seventh, the Ministry of the Interior and the National Women’s Institute are coordinating to train police officers to deal with domestic abuse cases.

However, the most recent review of this issue appears to be in 2007-2010.

Frontline Services:



[1] The World Bank, (1).

[2] United States Department of State, “Uruguay 2019 Human Rights Report”

[3], [4] D. Cariboni, “Uruguay‘s ‘shadow pandemic‘ of violence against women is out of control” (Open Democracy, 10 June 2020)

[5] S. Demirdjian,“Losfeminismosvuelven a movilizarse contra la violenciamachistaenel quinto aniversario del Ni Una Menos” (La DiariaFeminismos, 3 June 2020)



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