SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (WOMENSENEWS) - Despite its groundbreaking 1989 law against domestic violence, Puerto Rico suffers one of the world's worst rates of intimate-partner violence. Advocates blame the situation on inadequate funding for women's rights policies and weak political support for implementing the law. They direct particular criticism at the Office of the Women's Advocate, formed in 2001 to establish public policies with a gender perspective.
Verónica Rivera Torres, vice president of the Women's Commission of the Bar Association of Puerto Rico in San Juan, said that the Women's Advocate should fight for the funds that were cut under a major tightening budget in 2009.
The nongovernmental organizations "are the only hope right now, the shelters, the ones that offer financial services," Rivera Torres said. "But they are also in crisis because the Office of the Women's Advocate has had to cut its budget and therefore cannot distribute funds to these organizations."