The San Juan Daily Star
$1 million approved for services for gender violence victims
By John McPhaul
Interim Women’s Advocate Madeline Bermúdez announced Sunday the approval by the Office of Management and Budget of $1 million destined to subsidize nonprofit organizations that provide direct services on a daily basis to victims and survivors of gender violence.
The commonwealth funds were allocated to the Office of the Women’s Advocate by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia as part of his public policy and in accordance with the executive order that declared a state of emergency to establish, improve and execute protection, prevention and orientation programs against gender violence.
Bermúdez said the investment is directly aimed at paying for the provision of guidance, counseling, support, advocacy, legal representation, social work services, psychological services, a 24/7 orientation and help line, and forensic and psychiatric medical services, among other assistance for victims of gender violence and sexual assault. Likewise, the funds can be used to cover basic needs of participants in court and prosecutor’s office processes.
Funds will also be allocated to support low- and moderate-income women’s economic self-sufficiency projects, sexual and reproductive health programs and services, as well as prevention and education services with innovative strategies on violence and gender discrimination.
“The allocation of these funds is extremely important, considering the urgency of nonprofit organizations to have additional funds to respond to emergencies, as a result of the passage of Hurricane Fiona,” Bermúdez said. “In addition, the purpose is that they can provide resources of economic support, independence and empowerment to women … to continue addressing the state of emergency that we are experiencing with cases of domestic violence and provide services that are fundamental to eradicate abuse against women.”
The interim women’s advocate said the $1 million will be distributed through an open call for nonprofit organizations.
The priority in the allocation of funds will be aimed at supporting direct services to victims of gender-based violence that are offered by non-profit, faith-based, community and specialized coalitions recognized for their track record in providing direct services to victim-survivors of gender-based violence, with a minimum of two years of experience, Bermúdez said.
She anticipated that in the coming days the office will announce the requirements and the process so that nonprofit organizations that offer services to victims and survivors of abuse can present their proposals and request the economic allocation. However, Bermúdez added, any organization interested in competing for such funds can now access the Fund Application Guide available on the Women’s Advocate portal, http://www.mujer.pr.gov, or request them by email by writing to: email@example.com.
She also urged victims of domestic violence or assault to report their abuser and seek help through the office’s Domestic Violence Victims Orientation Line: 787-722-2977.