Volume 20

Immigrant Women, Domestic Violence, and Hurricanes Irma and Marìa in Puerto Rico: Compounding the Violence for the Most Vulnerable

by Jodie G. Roure

This article is divided in five substantive parts. Part I will introduce the obstacles facing immigrant women in the U.S. generally and how they are compounded for those in Puerto Rico, especially post-Hurricanes Irma and Marìa. Part II will discuss how the lack of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and transparent official government statistics on the issue of domestic violence has catapulted a surge in the development of a civilian-led data project that has become a social media phenomenon called Seguimiento de Casos (Case Follow- Up). An appendix provides civilian led data on domestic violence from the Seguimiento de Casos project. Part III provides an understanding of the Puerto Rico “Domestic Abuse Prevention and Intervention Act” (referred to hereafter as Law 54), Specialized Domestic Violence Courts, and police protocols in place to support immigrant women; examines the situation domestic violence shelters faced as a result of the hurricanes; and discusses the case study of “Sofia,” a Venezuelan immigrant and domestic violence victim who endured hurricanes Irma and Marìa. Part IV will conclude by offering recommendations and solutions that could facilitate effective support for immigrant women who are domes-tic violence victims, unlike the Sessions Memo, thereby improving the quality of life for all persons in Puerto Rico.

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