On May 30, 2023, IJM Guatemala trained 43 justice system officials on the challenges that victims and survivors encounter while trying to seek help from the Public Justice System.
Participants were judges from the Specialized Court in Femicides and staff of the Comprehensive Care Model for Women Victims of Violence of the Guatemalan Public Ministry. The topics discussed included the common challenges that victims face while seeking help from Justice System institutions, and how both victims and the Justice System benefit from using a victim-centered approach.
Participants found the training revealing and inspiring. They learned how the use of a victim-centered approach helps victims and survivors feel treated with compassion and dignity.
Judge Ana Elsy Ramírez, who specializes in Femicide and other Forms of Violence Against Women and Sexual Violence, reflected: “This training opportunity for administrative staff and judges has opened our eyes to the issue of femicide that we [as society] are currently going through.”
The training also demonstrated that the benefits of this approach go beyond victims and survivors. As Justice System providers learn how to better interact and serve victims, investigations and prosecutions become more efficient.
“This training has allowed us to reopen our eyes to a gender-responsive approach that will help us so much to carry out our functions,” affirmed Judge Ramírez.
Based on IJM´s 25 years of experience working with Justice Systems across the world, higher levels of confidence lead to more people reporting criminal acts. As victims continue to feel treated with dignity, and the Guatemalan Justice System’s performance improves, the current low levels of confidence in the system will increase. This is a virtuous cycle that expands the level of protection for the most vulnerable in society.
This training is part of a series of initiatives implemented by IJM in Guatemala and IJM El Salvador that seek to instill a culture of justice services centered on victims' needs and trauma-informed care.
“You are training a staff that from now on will put on the glasses we need to serve the women victims as they deserve,” said Judge Ramirez.