Marchers in Mexico City protest violence against women. Marchers in Mexico City protest violence against women.

Mexico City to hand out panic buttons to 128 victims of abuse

Device alerts the C5 security command control center that the woman needs immediate help

The Mexico City government will give panic alarm buttons to 128 women who have suffered domestic violence.

The initiative is intended to help prevent femicides, the killing of women by men on account of their gender.

The previous government purchased 1,000 GPS-enabled panic buttons for 10 million pesos (US $522,000) but didn’t distribute them, Mexico City Attorney General Ernestina Godoy said.

Each device has two buttons, one that alerts Mexico City’s C5 security command control center that the woman needs immediate help and another that allows a call to be made to a family member or emergency services.

Three seconds after the first button has been pressed, the device vibrates to notify the woman that her call for help has been received and that the closest police will be sent to assist.

Nelly Montealegre Díaz, an assistant prosecutor at the Mexico City Attorney General’s office, said that most of the women who will receive the panic buttons are aged between 30 and 40 and have suffered violence at the hands of their partners.

“They are victims of domestic violence, mainly [perpetrated by] their partners . . . In these cases, [the aggressors] . . . follow them, spy on them, call them constantly and leave threatening messages,” she said.

In some cases, the women have previously been threatened with firearms and knives, Montealegre added.

She also said that some of the women continue to live with their abusive partners.

“In some cases, they haven’t managed to get to the point of separation and that’s a decision for each of the women. We can’t force them to leave their partner, we’re working on their empowerment . . .” Montealegre said.

The official explained that the idea to distribute panic buttons to women followed a request made by a group of civil society organizations for the government to activate a gender alert in Mexico City.

Montealegre said that a date has not yet been set for the initiative to begin because preparations to ensure that it operates effectively have not yet been completed.

Between January 2012 and September 2017, there were 292 cases of femicide in the capital in addition to 421 cases in which women were murdered, according to data from the Mexico City government.

When Claudia Sheinbaum was sworn in as mayor on December 5, she said that eliminating gender violence and ensuring that justice is served in femicide cases will be priorities for her government.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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