The name comes directly from the Spanish word for protection and is used in reference to an epithet of the Virgin Mary, Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Forsaken or the Helpless).
In Spain, it is a very common name in the region of Valencia as Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados is considered the patron saint of the city.
It is currently the 93rd most popular female name in Chile, (2010).
Other forms of the name include:
- Itzal (Basque)
- Empar (Catalan)