Vieques to launch gender violence education initiative

By John McPhaul

Vieques Mayor José “Junito” Corcino Acevedo announced Thursday an aggressive educational initiative focused on prevention as part of his commitment to the public policy of zero tolerance for gender violence.

“In Vieques, we set the example; therefore, given the increase in cases of gender violence in the other municipalities, our administration has taken the initiative to reinforce programs against this terrible social evil, increase the resources available to victims and increase the number of workshops that our municipal police take to deal with this problem that has caused so much pain to hundreds of Puerto Rican families,” Corcino Acevedo said.

The new phase announced by the Vieques mayor is based on coordination with the Committee for Protection, Support, Rescue and Education, commonly known as PARE by its Spanish acronym -- created by the Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia under Executive Order 2021-13 -- to establish a series of educational workshops for all municipal employees.

In addition, educational platforms for the general public will be developed.

“We want a Vieques free of gender violence. That is our commitment,” the mayor said. “To this end, we will also be developing a series of seminars for our public servants on the Charter of Rights of Working Women, which establishes protections in the workplace for victims of this evil. Meanwhile, we will be evaluating initiatives to continue helping our municipal police to detect this type of behavior. Prevention is the key; that is why education is essential.”

The mayor noted that officials will be reviewing the existing protocols for intervention in cases of gender violence in order to evaluate possible changes to provide additional protections.

“We are going to discuss the matter with the secretary of the Department of Justice, Domingo Emanuelli, to see how he can help us with prevention and aid to victims,” Corcino Acevedo said. “Doing nothing is not an option; we have to and will be proactive.”

The mayor’s announcement came the day after Pierluisi announced the creation of a sustainable economic development council for the offshore island municipality to improve attention to Vieques residents’ health, improve education for youth, improve transportation and infrastructure, and promote tourism.

The measure, Executive Order 2021-031, is also aimed at the creation of jobs and energy sources, and climate change and special cooperative projects.

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