The territorial Delegation of the Regional Ministry of Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration in Almeria has launched a new Family Meeting Point (PEF) in Huércal-Overa, in addition to the one already operating in the capital and the one in El Ejido, which was inaugurated last year. The aim is that the families using this service in this area of Levante Almeriense do not have to travel, “we have to bring our citizens closer and we have a firm commitment to bring the services closer”, especially in cases of gender violence where there are restraining orders.
This was explained by the Director General of Juvenile Justice and Cooperation, Francisco Ontiveros, during a visit to the new facilities, accompanied by the Government Delegate, María Isabel Sánchez Torregosa; the Mayor of Huércal-Overa, Domingo Fernández; the territorial delegate of Justice in Almería, José Luis Delgado; and the Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Justice, María del Mar Meca. Ontiveros thanked the Town Hall, which has ceded the space, for its collaboration and highlighted “the commitment of the Government of the Junta and the Regional Ministry of Juan Marín to the most vulnerable”.
“It is a modern service, a 21st century society focused on children, who are vulnerable, with which we guarantee their right to relate to non-custodial parents and other family members, especially in environments of gender violence. We have a firm commitment to bring the services of the Junta de Andalucía closer, not only the PEFs, but also the Andalusian Victim Assistance Service (SAVA) that we have deployed in rural Andalusia. We have to get closer to our citizens”, he stressed.
Families are referred to the PEFs by the courts when in a separation or divorce process there are situations of high conflict that prevent a normal or fluid relationship and affect the visits and stays of minors.
Likewise, the Government Delegate thanked the City Council for their collaboration and thanked the Director General and the Regional Ministry of Justice “for their commitment and the fight for the province to have the best services. Almeria has been a forgotten and neglected province, so we are grateful that a Regional Ministry has come to study the territory and the situation and is sensitive to Almeria”.
The delegate stressed the fact that many families in the Levante area who use the PEF have to travel “many kilometres, which is why we have to put our thanks in capital letters. Congratulations to everyone, the whole Town Hall, the Mayor, the Regional Ministry, and also to the Vice President, Juan Marín, who has Huércal-Overa in his heart”.
For his part, the Mayor of Huércal-Overa stressed the importance of the collaboration between the Town Hall and the Junta de Andalucía to add another service to the municipality. “From the Town Hall we have ceded the space in which the Family Meeting Point is located, while we have provided it with the necessary resources to develop the activity, serving the residents of the Levante and the northern part of the province. Through this Meeting Point, the welfare of minors who, due to various circumstances, make use of it is guaranteed, also avoiding the need for families to travel to the capital”.
Along the same lines, the Councillor for Justice, María del Mar Meca, expressed that “from the Town Hall we are open to any need that the Junta detects and much more in this case, which is for the region, which is very large, and as the problems are there, they must be solved”; while the territorial delegate thanked the involvement of the Town Hall and all “the team of the Territorial Delegation”.
More than 600,000 euros of investment
For the implementation of the two new PEFs, El Ejido and Huércal-Overa, and the renovation of the one in the capital, the Regional Ministry of Justice has made an investment of 627,376.75 euros between 2021 and 2022, with the possibility of extension for another two years, and whose management has been awarded to the entity VicFam (Victims and Families). In the case of Huércal-Overa, the budget is 59,028.75 euros for one year.
The PEF in Huércal-Overa has been operating since this week from Friday to Sunday in order to be able to deliver and pick up minors and is staffed by two technicians.
All Andalusian provincial capitals – in addition to Algeciras, Jerez, Marbella and El Ejido – have Meeting Points, constituted as a suitable and neutral space to guarantee the essential right of minors to be in contact with their parents and relatives. In this way, the visiting, communication and living arrangements of these minors with their parents or relatives who do not have custody of them, as determined by the judicial bodies, are made possible.
The Family Meeting Points have been in operation since 2009 and provide a temporary, exceptional and free service, with the aim of promoting the normalisation of family coexistence. The duration of the intervention is limited to a maximum period of 18 months, which can be extended by resolution of the corresponding judicial body. In addition, these resources offer individual and family psychosocial counselling so that users can improve their relationships and overcome the situation of family conflict that led to the judicial referral to the PEFs.