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Puerto Rico to create commission to prevent and deal with violence against women

San Juan, Nov 25 (EFE).- Puerto Rican authorities will establish a multisector commission to prevent and attend to gender violence, which so far this year has taken the lives of 17 women on the island, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced Tuesday.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Garcia Padilla said that the commission will meet monthly to evaluate prevailing law on the subject and identify specific issues requiring legislative attention.

The announcement coincides with the celebration this year of the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the island’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention Law, a pioneering piece of legislation in Latin America.

Between the time the law was implemented and June 2014, a total of some 448,000 cases of domestic violence have been reported, with 70 percent of the victims and the attackers being between the ages of 20-39.

Over the course of the past two-and-a-half decades, 558 women have been killed on the island by their partners or ex-partners, and calculations are that 87 percent of the women in Puerto Rico have suffered some type of domestic violence during that period, compared with 13 percent of local men.

“The statistics show beyond any doubt that domestic violence is the main cause of violent death among our women,” women’s prosecutor Wanda Vazquez said.

So far in 2014, the island’s 911 system has received 11,241 calls regarding domestic violence, 479 for restraining order violations and 41 for electronic supervision violations.

Garcia Padilla also urged the public “to continue mobilizing against gender violence, fostering healthy relationships and not to remain silent when you are witnesses or victims of a situation of violence against women.”