Security Tip - Physical Assault

Security Tip - Physical Assault

Physical attacks and muggings are unusual in Nosara - most crime involves property, not people.

Costa Rica has different types of police forces: The local police are to prevent crime or intervene in an on-going crime. They will make an arrest if the perpetrator is still around. A special agency investigates crimes and pursues perpetrators. They are called the OIJ (Organismo de Investigacion Judicial).

In general, all types of assaults must be reported to the OIJ and/or courthouse in Nicoya.  The victim has to go to Nicoya to press charges. Any victim who is not fluent in Spanish should have a friend or innkeeper to go along to translate and assist.

Domestic Violence

The authorities take domestic violence very seriously. If a woman or a man is beaten by her or his spouse or partner, or even if the person feels threatened, she or he only needs to call the local police. They will find the aggressor and take him or her to the Police station, to be then transfered to Nicoya. After that, it is up to the victim to go to Nicoya, if possible the same day, to press charges.

Assault for Theft or Any Other Reason

Same procedure as for any other physical aggression. Report it and follow up on it, even you have not seen your aggressor. Providing as many details as possible will only help the case.

Sexual Aggression

The Costan Rican authorities treat sexual assaults seriously and professionally.

Make sure that the victim is assisted by a Spanish speaking friend during the entire process if Spanish is not a fluent language for the victim. Be aware that the entire process below will take at least 12 to 24 hours.

If you have been attacked, reach out immediately to a friend or neighbor or property manager so that you are not completely on your own.

Someone must call the OIJ to report a sexual assault at 2685-5328. The OIJ is very responsive to this kind of aggression and will come to the site of the assault and gather evidence that could help identify the perpetrator.  A the victim should not shower until she is told to do so.  If, for whatever reason the OIJ cannot come, the victim (and friends if possible) should collect clothes, sheets and other possible evidence and bring them to Nicoya. Calling the local police would help so that they could secure the site while waiting for the OIJ to arrive.

If a victim does not have a means of transportation, the OIJ will transport the victim to the Nicoya court house to start the formal reporting process.  She will be required to sign a legal document showing that she is willing to co-operate and be available for prosecution and court appearances if necessary.

Witnesses or persons able to give more pertinent information should go with her to the court house. Remember to bring official identification for everyone who is reporting (passport, ID card, residency card)

Once this process is completed, the victim has to be ready to be transported to Heredia, to proceed with medical and forensic examination, then to the hospital in Puntarenas for detection and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

There will be follow-up visits or trips available such as meeting with a psychologist, a sketch artist, medical attention. Transportation will be provided.

An official of the law enforcement will be with the victim at every step of the way, even driving the victim back home if necessary.  But remember that a translator should be available if the victim is not fluent in Spanish through the entire process.

REMEMBER: A full investigation will begin only if the victim agrees to go through this entire process.

All police officials, court house representatives and medical staff will be very courteous, respectful and professional, and will show a sincere desire to find the criminal, and help the victim without being invasive.

It is important for the victim to report the attack, even if the assailant has threatened her if she goes to the authorities.  It is crucial for the victim's safety and the safety of others to go through the legal process to apprehend the attacker.  

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