Mayagüez Judicial Region to open new courtroom for gender violence cases
By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico Supreme Court Chief Justice Maite D. Oronoz Rodríguez announced Wednesday that the island judiciary will have a new courtroom specializing in gender violence cases in the Mayagüez Judicial Region. With the opening of the forum, people from the municipalities of Añasco, Cabo Rojo, Hormigueros, Lajas, Las Marías, Maricao, Mayagüez, Sabana Grande and San Germán would benefit from the model, which integrates specialized services for the care of victims of domestic violence and sexual violence.
“Consistent with our efforts to eradicate gender violence, the Judiciary reaffirms its commitment to provide access to justice for victims and survivors of this social evil through an integrated and sensitive judicial model,” Oronoz Rodríguez said during the Services for Gender Violence Matters Fair that was held at the Mayagüez Judicial Center as part of the international campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.” “With the inclusion of this specialized courtroom in the Mayagüez Judicial Region, we assume our responsibility to strengthen an affordable and effective justice system for everyone.”
Since 2007, the island judiciary has established courtrooms specializing in domestic violence cases in eight judicial regions, as well as specialization projects in two additional regions. In 2019, the chief justice ordered the expansion of the model to include specialized care in cases of sexual violence. In this way, specialized courts for gender violence cases were added in the judicial regions of Utuado and, recently, Humacao. The Mayagüez Judicial Center would house the third specialized chamber of this type, which is slated to open in 2023.
In the specialized courtrooms, judges and court personnel trained in issues of gender violence are integrated, with specialized calendars, separate service areas for each party in the case, and integrated multidisciplinary services for the benefit of victims and survivors.
Oronoz Rodríguez expressed gratitude to the various support organizations and government entities that offer services to victims of gender violence that participated in the service fair held for the benefit of the island’s western and southwestern regions. In addition to judicial personnel, who provided guidance on the legal remedies available in the courts to deal with situations of gender violence, also participating in the fair were representatives from the Julia de Burgos Shelter, the MATRIA Project, Albizu University, the Business Center for Women, Siempre Vivas, Pro-Bono Inc., the Centro Salud Justicia de Puerto Rico, Migrant Health: CARIB Project, the Family Department, the Women’s Advocate Office, Legal Services of Puerto Rico, the Support Center for Crime Victims, the Health Department’s Center for Assistance to Rape Victims and the Municipality of Mayagüez.