Special Representative Santos Pais congratulates the Chilean Government on the passing of the "Law on the abuse of children and adolescents, the elderly and persons with disabilities”

New York, 17 March 2017 - Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, warmly welcomes the passing by the Senate of Chile of the "Law on the abuse of children and adolescents, the elderly and persons with disabilities."

This new law provides that an act of corporal abuse that is "relevant" within the meaning of the legislation will be considered a crime. This rule implies a departure from the concept of habitual mistreatment that regulates the domestic violence law already in force in the country, which requires that the abuse cause harm as a result of bodily injury to the victim´s physical integrity.

In addition, this Bill punishes those who subject a person protected by the legislation to degrading treatment that seriously impairs their dignity with the penalty of imprisonment in their minimum degree (61 to 540 days).

The new law introduces additional sanctions, including absolute, temporary or perpetual orders that bar individuals from exercising positions in the educational or health fields, or other positions that involve a direct and habitual relationship with the victim. To give effect to this provision, there will be a special register of offenders that can be consulted by those who offer such functions , which aims to prevent recidivism.

"The adoption of this important law is a decisive step to reinforce the implementation in Chile of the recommendations of the Global Study on Violence against Children, a very concrete contribution of the Government of Chile to the Initiative It is High Time to End to Violence against Children, as well as to the future achievement of target 16.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against children”, underscored the Special Representative.

Along with acknowledging and congratulating the efforts of the Government of Chile, Ms. Santos Pais expressed her hope for the early approval of the Children Rights Act –which includes a general legal prohibition of all forms of violence against children, as well as positive measures to be implemented- and the law that creates the office of the Ombudsperson for Children. "The approval of these two laws, in addition to that already sanctioned by the National Congress, will allow Chile to consolidate a solid and comprehensive legal framework to prevent and eradicate all forms of violence against children, whenever they take place," said the Special Representative.

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