Uruguay sees 68 reports of domestic violence daily

A new case of domestic abuse was reported every 21 minutes in Uruguay since January, authorities said Monday, highlighting the extent of violence against women in the tiny Latin American country.

And "domestic violence is one of the crimes that is reported less often," Javier Donnangelo, an interior ministry official, said on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

An average of 68 reports were made daily, Donnangelo said, a five percent rise over last year. And so far this year, 27 women have been killed in domestic assaults.

Violence against women by husbands and boyfriends is widespread across Latin America including in this small, mostly rural South American nation of just 3.3 million people, sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil.

Most experts consider the problem worse in Andean nations.

It is only in the past two decades that more and more women have begun reporting the crimes.

Yet in some Latin American countries, victims still describe being laughed at by police when reporting being beaten by lovers or husbands.

"We need specific government policies and programs," urged Teresa Herrera of the Network against Domestic and Sexual Violence.