Professionals’ support role for survivors of femicide and relatives of victims

The case of Ecuador

  • Santiago Boira
  • Anita Nudelman
Keywords: femicide, professional response, Ecuador, social care, gender violence


The ways in which care professionals’ support is provided to survivors of femicide, as well as to victims’ families (children, parents and siblings), may be crucial for their process of rehabilitation and integration into society, thereby increasing their chances to live a relatively satisfying life in the future. The objective of this article is to analyse the characteristics of this professional response, and suggest recommendations to enhance the care provided to femicide survivors and their families, in order to make it more significant and context-sensitive. Thus, a qualitative research, including 12 in-depth interviews, was conducted among femicide survivors and family members of femicide victims from the provinces of Imbabura and Carchi in the Ecuadorian highlands. Notwithstanding the governmental efforts, both through legislative changes and the development of care plans for the victims, the findings indicate an ambivalent professional response, as well as a significant lack of support networks for survivors and families of femicide victims.

Author Biographies

Santiago Boira

University of Zaragoza
Facultad de Ciencias Sociales y del Trabajo
C/ Violante de Hungría, 23
50009 Zaragoza
+34 876554537

Anita Nudelman

Ben Gurion University


Astete, S., & García, A. (2012). Género, interculturalidad y sostenibilidad en la agenda de desarrollo de los pueblos originarios de Ecuador. Madrid: Departamento de Cooperación al Desarrollo. IEPALA.

Baker, L., & Campbell, M. (2012). Exposure to Domestic Violence and Its Effect on Children's Brain Development and Functioning. Learning Network Brief. (2). London, Ontario: Learning Network.

Barnett, O. W. (2001). Why battered women do not leave, Part 2: External inhibiting factors— social support and internal inhibiting factors. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 2(1), 3-35.

Boira, S. (2010). Hombres Maltratadores. Historias de violencia masculina. Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza.

Boira, S., Carbajosa, P., & Méndez, R. (2015). Fear, conformity and silence. Intimate partner violence in rural areas of Ecuador. Psychosocial Intervention, 25, 9 –17.

Boira, S., Paredes, L., & Pabón K. (2015). Violencia de género, maltratadores y derechos humanos: Situación actual y retos de futuro en España y Ecuador. INTI ÑAN, 1, 1, 97 – 115.

Boira, S., Tomas-Aragones, L., & Rivera, N. (2017). Intimate Partner Violence and Femicide in Ecuador. Qualitative Sociology Review 13, 30 – 47.

Boira, S., & Rivera, N. (2016). Estrellas en el cielo. Femicidio y violencia contra la mujer en el altiplano ecuatoriano. Ibarra, Ecuador: Centauro Agencia Gráfica. Retrieved from:

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77-101.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: “Research perspective.” Developmental Psychology, 22, 723–742.

Caivano, J., & Marcus-Delgado, J. (2013). Las mujeres de América Latina, al alza. Política exterior, 27, 118-126.

Calle-Fernández, S. (2004). Consideraciones sobre la victimización secundaria en la atención social a las víctimas de la violencia de género. Ayuntamiento de L´Hospitalet de Llobregat. Portularia, 4, 61-66.

Carbajosa, P., Boira, S., & Tomas-Aragonés, L. (2013). Difficulties, skills and therapy strategies in interventions with court-ordered batterers in Spain. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18, 118-124.

Código Orgánico Integral Penal (2014). Registro Oficial. Suplemento N° 180 del 10 de febrero de 2014. Ecuador.

Colectivo Geografía Crítica (2017). Manifiesto geográfico contra la violencia hacia las mujeres. [online]. Retrieved from:

Corradi, C., Marcuello-Servos, C., Boira, S., & Weil, S. (2016). Theories of femicide and their significance for social research. Current Sociology, 64, 975-995.

Cunningham, A., Jaffe, P. G., Baker, L., Dick, T., Malla, S., Mazaheri, N., & Poisson, S. (1998). Theory-Derived Explanations of Male Violence Against Female Partners: Literature Update and Related Implications for Treatment and Evaluation. London: Family Court Clinic.

Cuvi, M., Ferraro, E., & Martínez, A. (2000). Discursos sobre el género y ruralidad en el Ecuador. La década de 1990. Quito: CONAMU.
Domínguez, M. (2016). Violencia de Género y Victimización Secundaria. Revista Digital de Medicina Psicosomática y Psicoterapia, 6(1), 3-22.

Edleson, J., & Tolman, R. M. (1992). Ecological interventions for domestic violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ellsberg, M., Jansen, H. A., Heise, L., Watts, C. H., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2008). Intimate partner violence and women's physical and mental health in the WHO multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence: An observational study. The Lancet, 371(9619), 1165–1172.

Erturk, Y. (2004). Considering the Role of Men in Agenda Setting: Conceptual and Policy Issues. Feminist Review; 78, 3-21.

Essayag, S. (2013). El compromiso de los Estados: Planes y políticas para erradicar la violencia contra las mujeres en América Latina y el Caribe. Panamá: PNUD-ONU Mujeres.

Farnós, T., & Sanmartín, J. (2005). Menores víctimas de violencia doméstica. In L. Ezpeleta (Ed.), Factores de riesgo en psicopatología del desarrollo (pp. 257-290). Barcelona: Masson.

Fernández, L. (2017). La Respuesta Judicial del Femicidio en Ecuador Análisis de sentencias judiciales de muertes ocurridas en el 2015. Quito: Corporación Promoción de la Mujer/Taller Comunicación Mujer. Retrieved from:

Fernández, G. (2015). Los Estereotipos de Género en los. Procedimientos Judiciales por Violencia de Género: El Papel del Comité CEDAW en la. Eliminación de la Discriminación y de la Estereotipación. Oñati Socio-legal Series [online]. 5(2), 498-519. Available from:

Flood, M., & Pease, B. (2009). Factors influencing attitudes to violence against women. Trauma, Violence and Abuse 1(2) 125-142.

Foa, E., Cascardi, M., Zoellner, L., & Feeny, N. (2000). Psychological and environmental factors associated with partner violence. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 1, 67-91.

Friederic, K. (2013). Violence against women and the contradictions of rights-in-practice in rural Ecuador. Latin American Perspectives, 41, 19–38.

García, A., & Astete, S. (2012). Género, interculturalidad y sostenibilidad en la agenda de desarrollo de los pueblos originarios de Ecuador. Madrid: Departamento de Cooperación al Desarrollo. IEPALA.

Goicolea, I. (2001). Exploring women’s needs in an Amazon region of Ecuador. Reproductive Health Matters, 9, 193–202.

Goicolea, I., Wulff, M., Öhman, A., & Sebastian, M. S. (2009). Risk factors for pregnancy among adolescent girls in Ecuador’s Amazon basin: A case-control study. Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública/Pan American Journal of Public Health, 26, 221–228.

Goicolea, I., Öhman, A., Torres, M. S., Morrás, I., & Edin, K. (2012). Condemning violence without rejecting sexism? Exploring how young men understand intimate partner violence in Ecuador. Global Health Action, 5, 10–19.

Gover, A. R., Tomsich, E. A., & Richards, T. N. (2015). Victimization and Help-Seeking Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence. Criminology and Criminal Justice, Violent Crime, Gender, Sex, and Crime [Online Publication] Date: Mar 2015 DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935383.013.58

Hall, G., Whittle, M., & Field, C. (2016). Themes in Judges' Sentencing Remarks for Male and Female Domestic Murderers. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 23(3), 395-412.

Horwitz, S., Mitchell, D., LaRussa-Trott, M., Santiago, L., Pearson, J., Skiff, D., & Cerulli, C. (2011). An inside view of police officers’ experience with domestic violence. Journal of Family Violence, 26(8), 617–625.

Ibáñez, D. B. (2017). La violencia de género en Ecuador: Un estudio sobre los universitarios. Revista Estudos Feministas, 25(3), 1313-1327.
Laurent, C., Platzer, M., & Idomir, M. (2013). Femicide: A Global Issue that Demands Action. Vienna: Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) Vienna Liaison Office.

Lila, M., Gracia, E., & García, F. (2013). Ambivalent sexism, empathy and law enforcement attitudes towards partner violence against women among male police officers. Psychology, Crime & Law, 19(10), 907–919.

Mears, D. P., Carlson, M. J., Holden, G., & Harris, S. D. (2001). Reducing Domestic Violence Revictimization: The Effects of Individual and Contextual Factors and Type of Legal Intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16(12):1260-1283.

Monckton-Smith, J., Williams, A., &·Mullane, K. (2014). Domestic abuse, homicide and gender: Strategies for policy. London: Palgrave. McMillan.

Nudelman, A., Boira, S., Tsomaia, T., Balica, E., & Tabagua, S. (2017). “Hearing their voices”: Exploring femicide among migrants and culture minorities. Qualitative Sociology Review, 10(3), pp. 49-68.

Orjuela, L., Perdices, A., Plaza, M., & Tovar, M. (2008). Manual de actuación con niños y niñas víctimas de violencia de género en el ámbito familiar. Barcelona: Save the Children España.

Patton, M. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Ramírez, M. H., & Gómez, J. C. (2007). La intervención del trabajo social en la prevención de la violencia contra las mujeres. Trabajo Social, 9, 89-104. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Rivas, C., Ramsay, J., Sadowski, L., Davidson, L.L., Dunne, D., Eldridge, S., . . . Feder, G. (2015). Advocacy interventions to reduce or eliminate violence and promote the physical and psychosocial well-being of women who experience intimate partner abuse. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Dec 3;12:CD005043.

Sagot, M. (2000). La Ruta crítica que siguen las mujeres afectadas por la violencia intrafamiliar en América Latina. San José, Costa Rica: Programa Mujer, Salud y Desarrollo de la OPS/OMS.

Sokoloff, N. J., & Dupont, I. (2005). Domestic Violence at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Gender. Challenges and Contributions to Understanding Violence Against Marginalized Women in Diverse Communities. Violence Against Women, 11, 38-64.

State Attorney General's Office, Ecuador (2016). Femicidio. Análisis penológico. 2014-2015. Retrieved from:

Stith, S. M., & Rosen, K. H. (1992). Estudio de la violencia doméstica. In S. M. Stith, M. B. Williams & K. Rosen (Eds.), Psicosociología de la violencia en el hogar (pp. 27-47). Bilbao: DDB.

Stout, K. R., & Kennedy, M. A. (2017). Police as Educators: Support for Possible Responses to Intimate Partner Violence Calls. Justice Policy Journal, 14(1), 1-20.

Suarez, E., & Gadalla, T. M. (2010). Stop Blaming the Victim: A Meta-Analysis on Rape Myths. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 25(11) 2010–2035.
UNDOC (2013). Report of the Vienna Declaration on Femicide. Retrieved from:

WHO (2002). World report on violence and health. New York: United Nations.

WHO (2013). Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. Geneva: World Health Organization.
How to Cite
Boira, S., & Nudelman, A. (2018). Professionals’ support role for survivors of femicide and relatives of victims: The case of Ecuador. Journal of Comparative Social Work, 13(1), 81 - 102.
  • Abstract 949
  • PDF 387

Most read articles by the same author(s)