Thursday, April 16, 2020.
We are all aware that the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically transformed everyone’s lives.
Surely the priority today is to stay home and save lives.
But in complying with the mandate to stay home, there is another fact that we must recognize.
While staying home does save lives, it can also be a huge risk for many vulnerable people, children and women who are victims of domestic violence.
It’s like the dark side of the moon.
We know it’s there, but we don’t see it.
The United Nations Gender Equality initiative, better known as “UN Women”, has warned governments around the world about the risk for an increase in domestic violence during emergency shelter-in-place measures.
The health emergency that keeps us home today may have unfortunate consequences for many if we do not act to prevent and address domestic violence, known as “The Other Global Pandemic”.
That public health issue has cost us many lives and we must address it.
We know that the risk of violence in the wake of the COVID-19 confinement comes from a number of factors:
- More time spent together in the same space
- Anxiety, stress and frustration levels increase
- The inability for the abused to ask for help
- The aggressor feels they can act with more impunity and greater control over the victim
- It’s harder to file a complaint
- The economic impact of shelter-in-place measures increases the victim’s dependence on an aggressor and exacerbates tension within the family
When we launched the “5 for Family Peace” program I made it very clear that we will not allow any mistreatment or abuse in our homes.
Now, along with the whole team of experts on the matter, we are carrying out the “Plan for ZERO Domestic Violence”.
The goal is to protect children, young people and women while they are at home due to the pandemic.
It operates on three fronts:
Two: immediate attention, and
Three: enact justice and repair the damage.
As it relates to prevention, the project “We are with you” stands out, offering 24-hour online support through a network of mental health specialists from public institutions and the private sector.
This team is ready to attend to those in need.
We want to prevent any situation that threatens personal or family peace.
I want to thank each and every professional who is voluntarily helping us in this project.
The people of Quintana Roo and its government thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
We have spread word voice about the mobile application “Mujer Siempre Alerta” (Woman on Guard), monitored 24 hours a day for immediate reaction to cases of violence.
Regarding social proximity, the Ministry of Public Security, in coordination with municipal governments, maintains and will maintain closeness with citizens.
We are paying special attention to regions where cases of family violence are regularly reported.
I want to make it very clear that I will not consent to any omission or police action that violates rights.
In the Immediate Attention axis, all the institutions that provide care to victims of family violence maintain face-to-face and telephone services to immediately provide psychological, legal and social work assistance when it is required.
This is a huge institutional effort.
The Ministry of Public Security, State and municipal DIF, and the Office for the Attention to Girls, Boys and Adolescents are involved.
The collaboration with the “Instituto Quintanarroense de la Mujer” (Quintanarroense Institute for Women) and its municipal affiliates, the National System for the Protection of Girls, Boys and Adolescents and the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims also stands out.
There will always be a service unit in your municipality that can assist you immediately by calling 911 for any emergency.
You will be assisted by the “Grupo Especializado de Atención a la Violencia de Género – GEAVIG” (Specialized Group for Attention to Gender Violence), assisted by a multidisciplinary team.
Additionally, we have shelters with immediate access for those who need it.
As it relates to justice and reparative actions, we are operating the economic fund for immediate help, assistance and comprehensive restitution for victims of crime.
To seek justice, the State Attorney General’s Office works through the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Women, the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Sexual Offenses, and the Center for Justice for Women.
To provide justice, the criminal and family courts of the Judiciary work with a gender perspective, and are attentive to assess the risk of each case, and generate protection measures in favor of the victims.
There will be no impunity for the aggressor.
Whoever perpetrates domestic justice will be held accountable.
Each one of us has to do their part.
Therefore, today I am addressing women. I ask you not to minimize any type of violence, remember that your life and that of your daughters and sons is very valuable.
If you can’t file the report, ask someone to do it for you.
You are not alone!
We are ready to support you.
I also urge all of society to not ignore the criminal acts of aggressors anymore.
No more indifference to the pain of the victims.
No more family violence.
If we want peace, we have to seek it within our justice system.
The course is clear.
We must build a society free of violence and with gender equality.
May the enormous challenge that this pandemic presents to us today be an opportunity to bring out the best in our collective essence.
Let’s leave our mark on the historical process of building a peaceful future so that in this difficult stage, there is tolerance and peace in the homes.
This can only happen by working as a team. Together, we will succeed!