For the Judicial Branch of Puerto Rico, dealing with gender-based violence has been a priority matter. From our framework of action, we have developed and implemented concrete initiatives and projects to address the problem of gender-based violence and to address it with the sensitivity it requires. Through this information page, we seek to educate the community about the various manifestations of gender-based violence, the judicial processes through which these situations are addressed, and the efforts of the Judiciary aimed at addressing this social problem.
- Human Trafficking
- Domestic Violence
- Dating Violence
- Sexual Violence
General information on gender violence
What is gender violence?
Gender violence is one of the clearest and most serious manifestations of inequality among people. For this reason, among others, it is considered to be human rights problem that violates the principle enshrined in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which establishes that the dignity of the human being is inviolable.
Gender violence occurs when a person behaves in a way that causea physical, sexual, or psychological harm to another person based on gender stereotypes created by men and women. Gender stereotypes refer to opinions or prejudices based on the social characteristics and functions that a certain culture assigns to a man or a woman.
How does gender violence manifest itself?
Gender violence can manifest itself in various ways.
- pushing or shoving
- attacking self-esteem
- Page Break
- humiliations or insults
- requiring obedience or submission
- pressuring the person to do something
- isolating or restricting a person’s freedom of movement
- forcing them to have sex or to other participate in other types of sexual conduct they do not want or consent to
- controlling money or limiting the person’s resources
Cultural or social
- images that threaten the dignity of the person
- disparaging comments
- detracting value
- denying visibility
- degrading jokes or images
These actions can occur in public and private places, and between couples, employers, coworkers, members of the community, friends, relatives, teachers, and even strangers.
Statistically, in most cases, victims of gender violence are women in situations of violence committed by men. This includes women of various ages and social, educational, and economic backgrounds. However, anyone could be affected by gender violence.
Where can gender violence occur?
Gender violence can occur in different contexts.
Current or former partner
- Domestic violence
- physical, psychological, and sexual abuse against underage children or the elderly, or based on sexual orientation
- strict gender roles that differ between boys and girls and men and women in the family
- sexual harassment in the workplace
- discrimination based on sex
Social or community
- Human trafficking
- Page Break
- femicide, or murder of women based on gender
- hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity
- street harassment, or harassment by strangers in public places
- sexual assault
Social media or technology
- monitoring and stalking
- disseminating sexual images or intimate personal information
- controlling and manipulating passwords or information
Where can I call for more information?
You can contact the Domestic Violence Program, attached to the Directorate of Judicial Programs of the Office of Court Administration, at (787) 641-6600 extensions 5702, 5704, 5741, and 5743.
Actions to Ensure the Proper Handling of Gender Violence Cases
The Judicial Branch has taken concrete steps to address the problem of gender violence with the seriousness and sensitivity it requires. Although eradicating gender violence requires a coordinated effort from all sectors and from different perspectives, the Judicial Branch assumes its responsibility to improve the handling of these cases.
In an affirmative act by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, Hon. Maite D. Oronoz Rodríguez, and the Administrative Director of the Courts, Hon. Sigfrido Steidel Figueroa, together with the Judicial Advisory Council, a Declaration to Evaluate the Actions of the Court in Femicide Cases was issued. The document contains recommendations by the Advisory Council aimed at optimizing the court’s performance, including:
- ensure that gender violence cases are handled with priority and sensitivity by the courts
- create Network of Judge Coordinators for Gender Violence Affairs
- establish means for continuous evaluation to identify deficiencies in any judicial proceeding and implement the necessary corrective measures
- require municipal and superior court judges, as well as judges of the Court of Appeals, to participate in the Judicial Congress: Justice with Gender Perspective
- strengthen dialogue and collaboration with the entities that participate in the judicial processes related to gender violence cases
For more information on the actions taken by the Judicial Branch to ensure the proper handling of gender violence cases, click here.
This link will redirect you to the webpage for Ayuda Legal de Puerto Rico and its directory of legal help services. It includes information on shelters, nonprofit organizations, and government entities that provide services for victims of domestic violence and their families.