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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Package of bills filed to strengthen protections for domestic violence victims

Acting Women’s Advocate Madeline Bermúdez Sanabria, at right

By The Star Staff

In order to tackle domestic violence in Puerto Rico and expedite procedural transactions when a protection order is issued by responding quickly to the protection of the victim, Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera announced Tuesday the filing of a package of measures, including Senate Bill 1445, to include in the Registry of Persons Convicted of Violations of the Prevention and the Intervention Act with the Domestic Violence (Law 54-1989) people who violate a protection order, as well as those convicted individuals who are in a diversion program.

The measure also creates a Rapid Response Code (QR Code), which will be displayed on signs located in public and private universities, along with other higher education entities, so that students can access the registry quickly.

“We are at an important moment in the fight against domestic violence, a social evil that we must eradicate,” Riquelme Cabrera said. “After evaluating a number of initiatives and proposals, we have developed these bills as part of a series of technological responses that are aimed at significantly improving prevention systems. The Registry of Violators of Law 54 is a cornerstone of prevention, which is why we are eliminating certain loopholes that it had, such as, for example, at this time it does not include people who violate a protection order [issued] under … Law 54. Likewise, it does not have those convicts who go to a diversion program; this legislation includes all of them.”

Acting Women’s Advocate Madeline Bermúdez Sanabria, highlighted the importance of augmenting the tools that help with the prevention of gender-based violence.

“Any initiative aimed at supporting victims of violence must be evaluated with the responsibility and sensitivity that this issue deserves,” she said. “Developing new tools that help a victim in seeking help and assistance is an initiative that we have always considered necessary and that has our support. We have seen how due to a lack of communication between the agencies, lives have unfortunately been lost, and this matter has to be addressed quickly, always making the well-being and safety of victims a priority. We are at a crucial moment and it is important that we all help eradicate this evil that affects our society so much.”

The registry was created by Law 59-2019 and currently has 1,769 convicts. The most common crime, with 610 instances, is the violation of Article 3.1 (ill treatment) in the form of a serious attempt.

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