Nearly all Latin American and Caribbean countries now have strategies in place to protect women from violence, but the region is still the most violent in the world for women, a United Nations report showed on Wednesday.

Two of the 33 countries in the region – St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago – still lack an official national action plan to fight gender-based violence, the report by United Nations Development Programme said. The number was eight four years ago, when 32 countries were surveyed. A national action plan refers to strategic programmes developed by public agencies to lay out the roadmap to fight gender violence in the short and the long term.

However, of the 31 countries that do have plans, only 14 have enacted laws consistent with them. It attributed the lack of consistent laws to social and political systems “characterised by patriarchal and misogynistic patterns that are often resistant to promote legislative reforms”.

Calling the violence levels against women in the region “unacceptable”, the report called for the “need to allocate more resources, to better structure the response and to better articulate the work between the different actors” involved in the fight against gender-based violence.

Gender violence in Latin America and the Caribbean

“The issue of violence against women in Latin America is critical,” Eugenia Piza-Lopez, head of UNDP’s gender mission in Latin America, told AFP. “It’s the most violent region in the world against women outside of conflict contexts.”

Citing other past reports, the UNDP said that the region has the highest rate of sexual violence among non-couples, and the second highest rate of violence by partners or former partners.

Three of the top 10 countries in terms of violence against women are in the Caribbean, and two out of every three murdered women in the region are killed because of their gender, a 2009 UNDP report had shown.