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Guatemalan Public Ministry and IJM Leveraging the Power of Data to Protect Women and Children from Violence

GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA – On Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2019, the Guatemalan Public Ministry (MP by its name in Spanish) and its Secretariat for Women for launching the “Statistics Portal of the Women’s Observatory,” a digital platform created to fight violence against women and children. IJM supported the Public Ministry in developing this digital platform which will help monitor the public justice system’s response to these crimes, and for the first time ever, give the public access to transparent and real-time data from the Public Ministry’s Case Management Information System (SICOMP).

As a longtime partner to the MP and SICOMP, IJM was honored to serve as a contributor to the portal’s development as part of our commitment to make justice for the most vulnerable unstoppable. The portal will be made available online, providing statistics from the current and previous year on crimes including sexual violence, intimate partner violence and femicide. It will also display data involving crime type, justice system demand and response, geographic distribution, perpetrators’ and victims’ demographics and information on complaint sources.

Violence against women and children is pervasive, and more than other types of crime, is a challenge for the Public Ministry due to the high volume of complaints and victims affected. Since access to information is critical in order to facilitate justice and reduce impunity, we believe the collaboration between the Public Ministry and IJM to create and launch the Women’s Observatory is an unprecedented step toward transparency, accountability and public empowerment.

IJM Guatemala’s Field Office Director, Brad Twedt, said, “The launch of this portal serves as a strong step toward equipping the public and media with substantial data that will send a clear message that violence will not go unpunished, and justice begins with the filing of a complaint.”

When IJM began its work in Guatemala in 2005, human rights experts noted that the criminal justice system was “too broken” to protect those living in poverty. However, in collaboration with the Public Justice System, IJM has directly served the most vulnerable proving that change is possible. Over 290 children have been rescued from sexual violence, more than 220 survivors received aftercare services, and 275 perpetrators have been convicted for crimes of sexual violence. Additionally, IJM has trained over 10,000 police, government officials, social workers, and other community members to recognize and respond to different forms of violence against women and children.

This groundbreaking digital portal is a result of months of collaboration between the Public Ministry and IJM to strengthen the nation’s justice system and enhance the work to protect women and children from violence.

UPDATE: During the global pandemic of COVID-19, our team has seen local media and civil society members using this digital platform to gather data and report on the increase of violence against women and children in the country. This data visualization tool is allowing to give life to a story that needs to be told that women and children in lockdown have been left at risk of experiencing violence at the hand of family members, legal guardians or even partners, and governments need to invest in protecting them.

Guatemala Women Observatory Launch 2

Early in 2020, IJM collaborated with the Public Ministry on a redesigned of the observatory page so that it could integrate critical services and information for the population to move beyond consuming the information and help provided concreate action steps. For example, it facilitates access to the country’s online sex offender registry checks, provides access to missing women alerts and statistics. It also allows users to submit information regarding missing people or cases of violence, that information is then automatically gather allowing a reporting mechanism than then routes directly to the prosecutor assigned to the investigation.

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