Puerto Rico governor signs new laws for the protection of women
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Tuesday that he signed Senate Bills 57, 242, 366 and 532, which acknowledge the importance of women in society and provide protections against domestic violence and sexual assault.
“I recognize the role of women as the spearhead of Puerto Rican society. My administration’s public policy recognizes that contribution and that is why the majority of my cabinet is headed by women, who have much to contribute to Puerto Rico. That is why I have enacted into law several measures aimed at protecting them from domestic violence and sexual assault,” the governor said in a press release.
He explained that SB 57, introduced by Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, develops and establishes in the Women’s Advocate Office a domestic violence protection and prevention program for foreign women who reside in Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, SB 242, authored by Sen. Carmelo Ríos, establishes that crimes of incest, sexual assault, lascivious acts, human trafficking, aggravated kidnapping, the use of a minor for child pornography and other related crimes do not expire when the victim is under age 18.
The governor also signed SB 366, authored by Sen. Evelyn Vázquez, which establishes domestic violence prevention programs at all levels in the public education system. The new law intends to begin to instill a “discipline of respect” toward women from an early age.
SB 532, by Sen. Itzamar Peña, recognizes the legal capacity of women to request protection orders without their parents when they turn 18. Many young women do not report their assailants for fear females’ mistreatment will be revealed to their parents.
“Our administration has been one of zero tolerance for abuse against women, and in this I have been firm as governor and as president of the New Progressive Party. That is why we reiterate that any person who fails public or political service in that sense will be subjected to the rigors of the law and will not have room in our administration,” Rosselló declared.