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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker files bill ordering PRITS to create app to report abuse

ep. José Pérez Cordero, at left

By The Star Staff

Individuals who are victims of abuse, whether children or adults, will be able to report their situations confidentially through an app if legislation filed by Rep. José “Che” Pérez Cordero becomes law.

Recently, the at-large legislator introduced House Bill 2054 calling for the Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Serrvice (PRITS) to create a new application for mobile phones so victims can confidentially report situations of abuse and sexual assault.

The new app, called the “Cuéntamelo” digital platform, also allows the victim to request assistance from the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB) and other relevant agencies.

“An important element of technology is that it allows a channel of communication and citizen expression under strict confidentiality parameters,” Pérez Cordero said in a radio interview. “These spaces allow children, young people, adults and the elderly to confidentially express a complaint or situation to which they were exposed or know of a person who was exposed. This application fills a need so that the minor can express confidentially whether she was a victim or knows someone who was a victim of abuse or sexual assault. This offers greater security to the victims, our children, who are the future of Puerto Rico.”

The bill would authorize the central government through PRITS to develop an application whose operational function is a system to report a situation of abuse confidentially and request assistance from the PRPB and other relevant agencies.

The complaint received by the police must be handled confidentially. The relevant authorities would investigate the complaint reported by the emergency system in the application, taking the appropriate measures to safeguard the confidentiality of the process. Citizens would have free access to the application through mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets, the lawmaker said in a radio interview.

“We have to be proactive because for every case of abuse or sexual assault that comes to light, dozens, if not hundreds, remain in the dark, and that is what we seek to avoid,” Pérez Cordero said. “This application allows the minor to tell of their case or that of a friend or family member, with the assurance that it will be confidential. In these times we live in, this is an invaluable tool.”

In 2022, Puerto Rico had more than 19,000 total referrals for child abuse and neglect. Of those, 8,450 were referred for investigation.

According to the PRPB, the average number of domestic violence cases reported in Puerto Rico exceeds 600 per month.

In addition, at least 10% of adults aged 60 and older will experience some form of elder abuse in a given year, with some older adults simultaneously experiencing more than one type of abuse.

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