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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Collaborative agreements signed to streamline processing of protection orders in gender violence cases

“Let’s not fool ourselves, the governmental and social response has to be forceful and multisectoral and the solutions involve all of us,” said Puerto Rico Supreme Court Chief Justice Maite Oronoz Rodríguez, at left. (Gov. Pedro Pierluisi/Facebook)

By The Star Staff

Officials from the island government’s executive and judicial branches signed two collaborative agreements on Tuesday to streamline the processing of protection orders in cases of gender-based violence.

“These are the first agreements between these two branches of government to support this fight, and strengthen the intergovernmental protocol to coordinate the response, guidance and exchange of information for the care of survivors of gender-based violence in situations of domestic violence that we signed in 2022. It was signed by the presiding judge and yours truly,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said at a press conference. “Now we’re taking it one step further. … The first agreement being signed today is to standardize and develop a consistent process for handling protection orders. And the second makes possible the interoperability of electronic systems so that they are available to law enforcement officers immediately when protection orders are issued.”

Puerto Rico Supreme Court Chief Justice Maite Oronoz Rodríguez said: “There are no magic solutions.”

“Like most of the social problems that afflict us, gender-based violence is extremely complex and therefore requires a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach and attention that seeks to unite the efforts of the public and private sectors to develop practical work plans that address the needs of prevention, eradication of the factors that contribute to violence and reparation when that damage has occurred,” she said. “Let’s not fool ourselves, the governmental and social response has to be forceful and multisectoral and the solutions involve all of us.”

“This digital platform allows protection orders to be immediately registered in the Gender Violence Unit of the Police Headquarters and thus facilitate coordination for a positive completion of the order,” Oronoz Rodríguez added. “It will also allow law enforcement officers or other authorized officials to have access to pertinent information about the party against whom the warrant is issued, as mentioned by the governor, such as advisories, official government photos, residential address, copy of the protective order, whether they possess firearm licenses, and the number of legal weapons they have in their possession. Thus, from their electronic devices, law enforcement officials will be able to timely activate the suspension of gun licenses … as security measures, as well as design work plans tailored to the exercise of their ministry for their safety and that of the victims.”

The agreements establish that the Center for Operations and Processing of Protection Orders (COPOP by its Spanish acronym) will digitally receive the protection orders issued from the courts to register them and notify the command centers of the police regions of them, thus channeling their fulfillment when appropriate. The agreements will allow the process to be streamlined by viewing documents in real-time, the officials said. The information will be handled by law enforcement officials through the COPOP mobile app.

“There is consensus that protection orders continue to be a valuable tool to protect people in situations of gender-based violence,” Pierluisi said. “An interface has been established that allows the daily exchange of data under strict parameters of integrity, availability and confidentiality, which provides a guarantee of security for the petitioning parties as well as for the law enforcement officers who carry out the proceedings.”

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