Update on Women´s Attention Centers: A Life Free of Violence
On November 25th, 2010, The Special Law for a Life Free of Violence against Women passed, guaranteeing that unlike in the past, the thousands of femicide cases, physical abuse, harassment in the workplace, communities, and schools, would be addressed, not pushed aside as “cultural issues”. Prior to the passage of the law, El Salvador ranked highest for intentional female homicide in the world: 13.9 for every 100,000 women.
ORMUSA (Organization of Salvadoran Women for Peace), a longtime SHARE partner, recognized the severity of the violent situation women faced on a daily basis and decided to take action. “Women need to know that there are spaces for them to denounce these crimes,” explains Silvia Juarez of ORMUSA. Although the femicide rate has only dropped slightly, the number of court cases and convictions concerning violence against women have increased. According to Juarez, this is because women are slowly learning their rights, denouncing these crimes, and most importantly, standing up for themselves.
Raising awareness of this law does not only mean educating the victims, but also ensuring that those that make up the justice system, ie., police officers, judges, social workers, etc, handle these cases appropriately. With the support of The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and the Rachael and Ben Vaughan Foundation SHARE has supported ORMUSA in training police officers, social workers, and medical personnel in responding to women who are victims of violent crimes.
“We have been training police officers, building attention centers, and promoting gender equal policies for quite some time now. And finally we are seeing some results,” explains Juarez. Six Women’s Attention Centers have been constructed in different PNC (National Civilian Police) units throughout the country. But ORMUSA will not stop there. They plan on having ten centers in place before the end of the year. And plan to have twelve centers by the end of 2014.