"With how delicate this is, with what we see every day on the news … This is not a job we do in half an hour. And with what I have right now, I have the agenda full until 2020. " Ruth Romero, the only psychologist of the only Comprehensive Forensic Appraisal Unit (UVFI) in the province of Las Palmas, tells of the pile of requests to make psychological and psychosocial reports to victims of gender violence that fill her table . He says that he has been complaining for years to the Ministry of Justice, on which the Unit depends, requesting more resources and giving the importance he has to that team, created in 2006, but with a very poor staffing.
The UVFI began to be implemented in 2004, when the Organic Law on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence recommended its creation to better analyze the risk of women who report sexist violence with the help of a forensic doctor, a psychologist and a worker. Social. However, 14 years later they still have not been established in all the provinces (there should be a team for each court specialized in sexist violence) and those that work suffer from a lack of resources that professionals and experts have been denouncing for some time.
In Las Palmas, where at least two should have been created (one by specialized court), the only one that exists is where Romero works, located in Gran Canaria, and has to serve the rest of the islands of the province (Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Graciosa). In total, 1.1 million inhabitants. "I have so many requests that it is impossible to cover them all," she says, because, in addition to the reports of victims of gender violence, the psychologist has to deal with the causes that derive from the courts in both the criminal and the civil sphere.
The forensic doctor responsible for the Canarian unit María José Meilán makes an estimate: "We receive 60% more work than we can assume. At most, a month, the advisable thing to do it well is that the team attends to 12 cases. "And it adds to the lack of resources an absolute lack of equity:" It is not the same as something happens in Arrecife or Lanzarote that if it happens in Las Palmas: Here is the unit, communication is more fluid, there is always a doctor dedicated to this and we can discriminate the most urgent cases. "
However, according to the coroner, in other judicial parties, the same thing does not happen and she says that the judges, who are the ones who have to request the psychosocial reports and the risk assessments for the victims, ask for the latter almost exclusively when the culprits are going to leave. of serving a sentence of imprisonment to see if removal is sufficient or it is necessary to impose other measures. "We do not make urgent evaluations because they are not being asked, and I am clear that they do not ask because the judges know that we can not assume all that. They are using the police risk assessment (the VioGén, which currently has 3,570 active data, according to official data) and turn to us for the scheduled [que es para la que acumulan más de un año de retraso]. The UVFI does not serve for what was done, does not provide the service for which it was created, "he clarifies.
The staff tries, says Romero, the psychologist, "but it's impossible." Repeat again and again that it can not cope and that to do the work as required, it takes at least a week. "To the civil and criminal matters, priority cases must be added, such as cases involving prisoners and pre-constituted tests. [las pruebas sumariales que se hacen antes del juicio por su imposible reproducción posterior en él o para asegurar que no se pierdan datos o testimonios, como puede ser el caso de niños muy pequeños que podrían olvidar los hechos], for which I take turns with my other psychologist colleagues (five for the whole province and all the courts) ".
The protest of the delays and the deficiencies comes from far. Romero says that since he entered, more than 12 years ago, there is a waiting list of more than one year. Until 2017, an agreement with the Official College of Psychologists solved, albeit minimally, the problem of saturation. But that agreement ended and the outsourcing went to a private company, the Godoy Group. "With the School we had around 25 psychologists. Godoy has one or two. Also, taking into account that this is something very sensitive, we have stopped outsourcing these cases. Although others are related to family courts and other issues, "explains Meilán. Romero wonders if the excuse that the Administration has been putting for years does not work for Godoy: "What is not money to expand the workforce? And for Godoy, yes? People are not stupid. It takes staff, yes or yes. Let them take the money from anywhere. "