Bolivia

Defending Children from Sexual Violence

The epidemic of sexual violence in Bolivia is devastating. In this relatively small country of 10 million people, where tens of thousands of sexual assaults against children occur every year, from 2000 to 2007 the criminal justice system convicted fewer than three perpetrators of child sexual assault per year.1

Getting justice in court takes years; the process is complex, cumbersome and frequently derails. Sexual predators act with impunity: Someone who sexually assaults a child in Bolivia is more likely to die slipping in the shower or bathtub than to be sentenced to jail for their crime.2

We are fighting to change this system and protect children from sexual violence.

What We Do

RESCUE VICTIMS

We partner with the Bolivian National Police and Defensoria de la Ninez (Bolivian social services) to rescue children who are at risk of further abuse and bring them into safe places.

BRING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE

We support the Bolivian National Police to locate and arrest suspects, and partner with government prosecutors to ensure that child rapists and pedophiles are convicted.

RESTORE SURVIVORS

We provide trauma-focused therapy for children who have endured sexual violence, and help survivors who choose to participate in the trial prepare to share the truth in court. We make sure families have the support they need, so children can heal in a stable environment.

STRENGTHEN JUSTICE SYSTEMS

We are working with the Bolivian courts to determine practical ways to reduce delays in court proceedings, and provide training and hands-on mentoring to our government partners case by case.

Our Progress

  • Cases of sexual violence against children are now 30 times more likely to reach a conviction if IJM is involved.

  • The Bolivian government has invited us to train all government psychologists working with the Social Services Ministry to help ensure that children who survive sexual assault receive sensitive care through the justice system process.

  • Since December 2006, we have represented 248 Bolivian children in court and secured 46 convictions.

  • We have successfully advocated for trials to be concluded in as few as 18 days – a major step forward in a country where cases usually take years, if they reach any verdict at all.

  • We have trained more than a thousand teachers and educators on how to identify and report sexual assault cases. They are now equipped to protect the more than 25,000 students they serve.

Our Team in Bolivia

LA PAZ, BOLIVIA

ESTABLISHED 2006

Focus

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Field office director

Mari Christy

Factsheet

IJM Bolivia

RECENT STORIES FROM BOLIVIA

Five convictions in six days photo

Five Convicted in Six Days for Sexually Assaulting Children...

The perpetrators included two men who posed as taxi drivers and raped a 17-year-old...

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Strong Sentencing for Bolivian Uncle Indicates Crackdown on...

A Bolivian man has been sentenced to 22.5 years for abusing his 7-year-old niece.

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IJM Bolivia Cases Progress at ‘Rapid Pace’ Following New Law

IJM legal cases make rapid progress following the approval of new Bolivian law.

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1Haugen, Gary and Victor Boutros. The Locust Effect. Oxford University Press, 2014.

2Haugen, Gary and Victor Boutros. The Locust Effect. Oxford University Press, 2014.