The Peruvian Congress approved life sentences for child rapists, however, chemical castration is still in doubt
Unanimously, the Peruvian Congress approved a life sentence for rapists under 14 years of age. The decision was taken after a single vote with the 103 legislators in favor. However, chemical castration did not achieve the same acceptance with only 67 votes in favor, 28 abstentions, and seven against.
Leer en español: Perú: ¿Es la castración química la solución al abuso infantil?
The proposal is to modify article 173 of the Penal Code, so that chemical castration is applied at the discretion of the judge in the cases that he/she determines. Thus, the proposal will go to a second vote for this week, without being out of controversy for the positions of various sectors of Peruvian society.
The life sentence was already applied to rapists of children under 10 years, now the sentence will apply to those who abuse children under 14 years. The imprescriptibility of sexual crimes was also proposed, as well as aggravating if the aggressor is a relative, priest, or teacher of the victim.
A series of cases of abuse of women and children has echoed in Peruvian society, which has demanded tougher measures against these crimes. Therefore, life imprisonment achieved the unanimity of the legislators; however, chemical castration has not suffered the same fate, mainly because its effectiveness as a method is questioned, especially by human rights defenders and some feminist associations.
What is chemical castration?
Chemical castration is a treatment that an individual receives in order to reduce their sexual desire through a chemical process. It is applied to sex offenders to prevent them from committing crimes of this type. There are different treatments that use a wide variety of drugs, which affect differently in individuals, some chemicals may even put their health at risk, such as antiandrogens. The controversy with these treatments is about their real effectiveness, because according to the experience of the United States, mainly, the results are not always adequate, that is, many individuals can reoffend despite being castrated.
The specialists maintain that in addition to drug treatment, psychological treatment is required to support the individual in this process of change, although this does not guarantee that he will not commit crimes again. In addition, it should be noted that the treatment is reversible simply by stopping taking the drugs administered. Therefore, in Peru, Colombia, and in other parts of the world where it has been proposed, it has caused controversy.
If approved in Peru, the castration would represent a harsh sentence, in accordance with the crime of attacking women and children, who are victims of sexual abuse throughout the region, not only in Peru. In the last decade there has been an increasing number of cases of pedophilia exposed, the most mediated being those committed by priests.
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Last week, all bishops resigned in Chile for the cases that took place in that country, so the measures taken in Peru can be considered radical, although the context is not simple for the authorities. Duberlí Rodríguez, president of the Supreme Court of Justice, declared himself doubtful that the measure could work, because deeper measures are needed to combat the problem.
The life imprisonment and the chemical castration are measures subsequent to the crime, so for it to be integral it requires a preventive proposal of greater scope and treatment for the victims. In this sense, a system of permanent registration is required for the aggressors and a better enforcement of justice. Prevention is usually more complex than punishments, but if a change of substance is required, they require greater measures. There are many proposals on the table, coming from all the political groups in the congress, so there is political will to reach agreements that reduce the incidence of these crimes.
Latin American Post | Luisa Liborio
Translated from “Perú: ¿Es la castración química la solución al abuso infantil?”