Guatemalan Institute Supports Over 4,600 Survivors With | International Justice Mission shield arrow-simple-alt-top arrow-simple-alt-left arrow-simple-alt-right arrow-simple-alt-bottom facebook instagram linkedin medium pinterest rss search-alt twitter video-play arrow-long-right arrow-long-left arrow-long-top arrow-long-bottom arrow-simple-right arrow-simple-left arrow-simple-bottom readio arrow-simple-top speaker-down plus minus cloud hb pin camera globe cart rotate star edit arrow-top arrow-right arrow-left arrow-bottom check search close square speaker-up speaker-mute return play pause love

Guatemalan Institute Supports Over 4,600 Survivors With New Trauma-Informed Model

March 16, 2021 - the Guatemalan Institute for Victim Care and Assistance (IAV, acronym for its Spanish name Instituto De La Victima) celebrated six months of restoring survivors of violence through its Model for Holistic Assistance for Victims – a trauma-informed model co-created by the government of Guatemala and IJM. In the first six months of the model's implementation, the IAV supported 4,647 survivors of violence, providing free legal counseling and representation, psychological support, and securing 117 convictions.

In addition to providing holistic assistance for victims, the IAV has the mandate to review, approve and advise on national policies that support victims, contributing to the prevention of crime and reduction of re-traumatization.

In 2020, 37% of nationwide cases that entered the Guatemalan Public Justice System were committed against women and children. The percentage is higher in the IAV's caseload, where approximately 60% of the cases are violence against women and children – including sexual and domestic violence.

“Historically, victims have been invisible within public justice systems, even when it is they that serve as the starting point for the penal system. However, there is a shift of focus with the incorporations of norms, processes and policies that promote having the victim of a crime at the center of the process” said Alejandra Carrillo, General Director of the IAV. “What’s most important is that the victim is central to what we do,” she added.

Thirteen members of Mi Historia Importa (My Story Matters), a survivor-led movement supported by IJM, used their own experiences within the public justice system to inform the strategy and creation of the ground-breaking victim assistance model. “For me, having participated… has been and continues to be important. Knowing that it is going to serve many people — children, women, and adolescents — is important,” explained Scarlett, one of the survivor leaders, adding that “to have all the services in one place helps the victim feel more at home and feel like other people will support them with legal matters, and will help them physically and psychologically, beyond just listening to their stories.”

Each staff member, from the receptionist to the multidisciplinary team of lawyers, psychologists, social workers, doctors and nurses, was trained by IJM and is required to comply with protocols regarding trauma-informed care. “IJM was the first institution to take interest in the IAV, to believe in the IAV, and to be certain that the model could be replicated not just in Central America, but throughout Latin America,” highlighted Carrillo.

“For us [fighting against violence] is not a political, philosophical or an abstract issue, this is a flesh-and-bones need,” said Brad Twedt, IJM’s Regional Vice President for the Northern Triangle of Central America. “I thank the IAV for allowing us to be part of this big challenge. I want to reiterate IJM’s support as an ally to add to your efforts ensuring access to justice, dignifying services, and the restoration of victims; that contributes to the reduction of impunity and the protection of woman and children.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Stay connected to the work! Sign up to get updates straight to your inbox.

Media Contact

We're here to answer your questions. Please fill out the form below and someone from our team will follow up with you soon.

More Information

Petra Kooman

Director of Marketing and Public Relations
pkooman@ijm.ca
519.679.5030 x.229

Make an Impact

Your skills, talents, and ideas are a force for change. From birthday parties to polar dips, your fundraising campaign can stop the violence.

Learn More

Thank you for signing up to learn more about starting a fundraiser. We will be in touch soon!

In the meantime, please take a look at our free guide: 25 Tips for the Novice Fundraiser.

Need Help?

Need more information?
We're here to help.
Contact us at events@ijm.ca