Domestic Violence (DV) Intervention Programs in México

Efforts to ameliorate partner abuse in clinical samples (also known as Domestic Violence) in México have largely focused primarily on treatment programs for victims. Such programs have been implemented throughout all the 32 states and delivery efforts have been commissioned to the National Institute of Women (Instituto Nacional de la Mujeres-INMUJERES) by means of its state Councils in all México. This has greatly aided women victims of domestic abuse who have made use of the states council’s services in terms of legal and psychological assistance.

In hand with these policies recent complementary efforts have been directed toward the implementation of batterer intervention programs. These re-educational programs follow an understanding of partner abuse where perpetrators need to amend their views on “traditional” or stereotypical beliefs about sex/roles.  A basic premise of these intervention programs within the “re-education” process” is:

“that perpetrators [men] of partner abuse commit a crime whilst women victims of it do not. There is great difference between perpetrating and suffering [violence]” (Híjar & Valdez Santiago, 2010: 17). As such, these programs have adopted a definition of violence as “Any act or omission based on its [the person’s] gender] that causes them psychological, physical, economical and/or sexual pain and suffering or death in private settings [e.g.  [at home] or in public” (Híjar & Valdez Santiago, 2010: 17).

This term is accompanied in the re-educational manual of victims and perpetrators of partner violence by a definition of victim [of partner abuse] as: “Women of any age who sustained any form of violence”; and a definition of perpetrator: “Any person who perpetrates any type of violence against women”.(Híjar & Valdez Santiago, 2010: 17).

As such, these programs deem Domestic Violence is a unitary phenomenon due to broad gender inequality differentials that are extrapolated all the way to family or the couple’s affairs. These efforts in México have been supported by federal legislation which has aimed its focus toward this kind of partner violence (gendered violence or violence against women borne out of cultural gender differentials) as part government initiatives to tackle structural gender inequality. The General Access of Women to a Life Free of Violence Law [Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia] approved by Congress and published in 2007, and updated in 2009 and most recently in 2014 exemplifies the above. Such law establishes a definition of family violence as:

“any abusive act of power or intentional omission aimed at controlling, dominating or aggressing women physically, verbally, psychologically, economically [even by means of using the partner’s property] and/or sexually within or out of the family home, whose aggressor has or has had a family relationship by consanguinity or affinity, of marriage, cohabitation or a factual relationship” (Cámara de Diputados del H. Congreso de la Unión, 2014: 31).

One of the main challenges in México in terms of partner abuse treatment and intervention program delivery lies within appropriate diagnostic of types of partner abuse or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in relationship dynamics (in either victims or perpetrators of IPV). Current Domestic Violence treatment and intervention programs in México provide assistance, aid and guidance exclusively to victims and perpetrators of violence against women.  There is conclusive empirical research elsewhere (e.g. Graham-Kevan & Archer, 2013; Hines & Douglas, 2010; Johnson, 2009; Laroche, 2005; Straus & Winstok, 2013) that supports the heterogeneity of partner violence perpetrators and victims thus research on different types of partner abuse or intimate partner violence in México is warranted.

Emerging research currently underway in México is attempting to identify different types of partner violence, backed up by research in other countries such as Canada, the UK, the US and others, in order to better inform IPV intervention program providers about the nature and the different developmental trajectories characteristic of specific IPV types (in clinical and youth populations).

Coming soon there will be an analysis available on prevalence, patterns of IPV and mental health repercussions of victims and perpetrators of partner abuse in Mexican samples. The main part of this upcoming report shall importantly contain recommendations on priorities of partner abuse intervention and focus on specific types of IPV or partner abuse victims and offenders empirically identified in México.


Cámara de Diputados del H. Congreso de la Unión (April 2014). Ley general de acceso de las mujeres a una vida libre de violencia [The General Access of women to a Life Free of Violence Law]. México City: Diario Oficial de la Federación.

Graham-Kevan, N., & Archer, J. (2003). Intimate terrorism and Common couple violence: A test of Johnson’s predictions in four British samples. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18(11), 1247 – 1270).

Híjar, M., & Valdéz Santiago, R. (2010). Programa de reeducación para víctimas y agresores de violencia de pareja: Manual para responsables de programa [Re-education program for victims and perpetrators of intimate partner violence: A manual for program deliverers]. Cuernavaca, México, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública.

Hines, D. A., & Douglas, E. M. (2011). Intimate terrorism by women toward men: Does it exist? Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 2(3), 36-56.

Johnson, M. P. (2009).Differentiating among different types of Domestic Violence: Implications for healthy marriages. In H. Elizabeth Peters and Claire M. Kamp Dush (Eds). Marriage and Family: Perspectives and complexities (pp. 281 – 297). New York: Columbia University Press.

Laroche, D. (2005). Aspects of the context and consequences of domestic violence-Situational couple violence and Intimate Terrorism in Canada in 1999.  Québec: Institut de la Statistique de Québec.

 Straus, M. A., & Winstok, Z. (August, 2013). Gender differences in the relation of dyadic types of partner violence to depression to depression among university students in 15 nations. Paper presented at the Society for the Study of Social Problems Annual Meeting. New York.