Safe Spaces for Women and 31 Gender Violence Attention Centers, the Government Announces

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    The so-called ‘Gender Route‘, announced this Thursday by the Government of Rodrigo Chaves as a dam against sexual harassment and gender violence, will include the certification of “safe spaces” for women to take refuge in this type of situation and 31 “violet points” or attention centers to receive accompaniment and file complaints.

    This was announced by the Minister for the Status of Women, Cindy Quesada, at the presentation of the public policy against harassment, held at the Fire Operations Center in Santo Domingo de Heredia. The design of the strategy was delegated to Vice President Mary Munive by the president when he was declared president-elect in April 2022.

    Part of the Executive’s route is to create “safe spaces” for women in cases of harassment or violence. These are stamps that commercial establishments will receive after applying through the National Institute for Women (Inamu) and receiving training on the protocol to follow when someone goes to said “safe spaces” to seek refuge.

    The idea is that if a woman is walking down the street and experiences harassment, she can locate a “safe space” through a purple stamp or through digital platforms that show her locations on a map. There, the business staff will close the establishment and activate the 9-1-1 Emergency System protocol.

    Vice President Munive compared it to “little green owl” stickers, which indicate that “yummy” food is eaten in a restaurant. In the case of “safe spaces”, the badge would indicate that victims of harassment and gender-based violence are protected in that place, and that the people who work there “in the event of an incident they know how to act”.

    Quesada, for her part, stressed that in these establishments there will also be information resources so that people can learn more about their rights and help mechanisms in cases of harassment or gender violence. Businesses can now apply on the Inamu page, and certifications will begin in 2023.

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    More “Violet Points” will be available

    In addition to the “safe spaces”, the Minister for the Status of Women announced that the country will go from having 6 assistance centers for women in situations of violence to a total of 31 assistance centers, called “violet points”. These will be “places where women go for help” to report bullying, harassment or violence.

    Currently, Inamu has 6 help centers in 6 regions of the country, but with this plan they will multiply by 5 and there will be a minimum of 3 “violet points” in each of the 7 regions of the country. Most will be located in rural, coastal, remote and border areas; the places where “they are most needed” because that is where the most cases have been identified.

    “We are not going to create more bureaucracy,” Quesada promised at a press conference after the presentation, explaining that these assistance centers will be located in justice houses, inspection delegations of the Ministry of Labor, and dependencies of the Ministry of Public Security.

    In these care centers there will be psychology and legal assistance personnel to file complaints or face legal proceedings. The minister assured that each region will go from having 2 “specialists in law” to 10, and that they will provide services “on demand”. That is, lawyers will be appointed according to the needs of each care center.
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