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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

House approves Senate bill criminalizing the violation of a protection order

Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera


The island House of Representatives has approved Senate Bill 167, authored by Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera, which establishes a fixed prison period of two years for anyone who violates a protection order under Law 148-2015, better known as the “Law for the Protection of Victims of Sexual Assault in Puerto Rico.”

The measure was co-authored by Sen. Gregorio Matías Rosario.

“We thank the colleagues of the House of Representatives for endorsing this initiative that comes to address a real need for the protection of victims of sexual assault in Puerto Rico. Law 148-2015 was designed to provide these victims with a quick and robust mechanism for their protection through an order to that end,” Riquelme Cabrera said Monday. “However, violation of any order by an aggressor is only understood as a misdemeanor. With this measure approved yesterday, we give it an additional deterrence mechanism.”

“Before, protection orders were available only in domestic violence cases; there was no platform for a victim to ask for protection directly,” the at-large senator added. “Law 148 came to fill that void, but it had to be strengthened by establishing that a violation of the order would entail a fixed prison term of 24 months.”

The measure amends Section 10 of the aforementioned law to provide that: “Any knowing violation of a Protection Order, issued under this Act, shall constitute a felony; this without prejudice to their criminal liability by any other criminal law, which shall constitute contempt of court, which could result in imprisonment for a fixed term of two years, a fine or both.”

Law 148-2015 was enacted to establish greater protections for victims of sexual assault, including the process of applying for a protection order, which is a civil remedy that serves to prohibit the offending party from approaching the victim in any way.

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