The National Institute for Social Development (Indesol) published this April 7 the regulations for Women’s Refuges victims of Violence operated by civil associations to finally access the 405 million pesos labeled for this goal in the 2020 Egress Budget.
The National Shelter Network requested that the money be allocated this month, as they are operating with last year’s reserves and donations, amid a contingency for the COVID-19 pandemic which, according to specialists, will increase sexist violence.
The Operational Guidelines of the Specialized Shelter Support Program for Women Victims of Gender Violence, their Daughters and Sons, published in the Official Journal of the Federation (DOF), establish a period of 15 working days for the reception of shelter projects counted from the day after the publication of these standards. Considering the non-working days for Easter, that period will end on April 30.
Then a «project review and analysis» period opens, the results of which, according to point 4.4.1 of the bases, «will be disclosed within no more than sixty calendar days». In other words, it could take until June next for the opinion to be ready and the agreement to be signed with each association.
And in point 4.7.1, on the delivery of resources, it specifies that «the first ministering shall be granted within a period not exceeding thirty working days after the signing of the Legal Instrument».
All these deadlines, if they are tended to the limit of what the guidelines set, would mean that shelters do not have public funding more than half of the year.
The National Shelter Network, which brings together 75 such shelters and external care centres, issued a statement celebrating that the process has been set out, but warned that it is just the first step, while time is pressing for the health emergency.
«Since the commitment shown by the Indesol we ask and extend it to the other competent bodies, to speed up the processes so that by April 30 all the Shelters have the corresponding budget,» he said.
?COMUNICADO:The Operational Guidelines of the Specialized Shelter Support Program for Women Victims of Gender Violence, their Daughters/Sons, have been published.
Tomorrow will open the period to present projectsA more step to #Refugios have a budget! pic.twitter.com/ZzblDbCDFu
— National Shelter Network, AC (@RNRoficial) April 7, 2020
Just this Sunday, the Network uploaded a petition to the change.org platform to call for a speed of this process, which has secured almost 2,500 signatures.
Wendy Figueroa, director of the Network, stressed that in the health emergency decree, the government included shelters as «essential services» that could not stop activities for social estrangement measures. However, the deadlines of the guidelines issued are not consistent with that.
«Unfortunately it will be out of the coVID-19 contingency and therefore the shelters, which were considered essential services in the face of this contingency, will operate without a federal budget, which is serious and regrettable,» he said.
On March 25, the Network issued an open letter to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit signed by more than 460 social, feminist and citizen organizations, calling for the release of resources, and even in the Chamber of Deputies there was an exhortation in the same direction. The Treasury unscrewed that money on April 2, but the issuance of the guidelines by The Indesol was still pending.
It is the first year that this body, attached to the Welfare Secretariat, is responsible for the distribution of the budget. Previously, the National Center for Gender Equity and Reproductive Health of the Ministry of Health did so.
Last year, after the presidential investigation not to hand over public resources to civil society organizations, the call was suspended for a few days, but then a restructuring of its operation, which went from a health grant, to a social welfare program was reopened and began.
Figueroa has been insistent that the release of resources by the Treasury and the publication of the call by the Indesol are just the first steps, since the process is long.
Each organization must submit an annual project to provide the specialized protection and care services of women and their daughters and sons, the number of staff it needs (psychologists, lawyers, social workers, etc.) and how much is paid to those staff. The government not only evaluates the shelters, their activities of the previous year and the project presented, but then adjustments are made, the agreement has to be signed and finally the money is handed over, so they spend weeks in what all this is ready.
Shelters are houses that are held in confidential locations so that no aggressor men can go looking for their ex-partner, where they are given a space to live the woman attacked, clothes, education for their children, empowerment activities and everything they need for psychological and legal counseling while sheltered.
They may also have an external care center, which is to give advice for the moment to women who experience violence, whether they need to leave their home, file a complaint or only receive psychological help, as well as follow up on these women and the shelters to ensure that they do not suffer violence again.
During the first two weeks of confinement, the Network received 17 women with their daughters and sons, more than one daily.
The secretary of the Interior, Olga Sánchez Cordero, reported on Monday that 911 calls for family violence had increased by 25%, and 60% calls to shelters. The National Women’s Institute (Women’s) and the UN at the international level have also said that isolation will lead to greater sexist violence, so services for women need to be guaranteed.
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