A state of national emergency is being declared in Costa Rica in response to skyrocketing rates of gender and domestic violence against women, it has been announced.
Newly appointed Minister of Women's Condition Patricia Mora told reporters on Thursday that the measure will be the first she implements when she formally takes office next Tuesday.
Epsy Campbell, the first woman of African descent to serve as vice-president on the American continent, also pledged to cut the gender pay gap and tackle violence against women during the electoral campaign.
According to recent U.N. reports, rampant domestic violence is forcing women to flee their homes in Central America.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people – including women and children traveling alone – leave the region. Among the most affected areas are the 'Northern Triangle' nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
According to Costa Rica's justice investigation bureau, over 1,000 women filed a complaint over sexual abuse in the past two years – primarily females between 12 and 17 years old. In about half of the cases, the victims said they had been abused by a relative or friend.