Latin America

Major Step Forward to Protect Guatemalan Children: New National Policy Will Defend Children's Rights in Court

GUATEMALA CITY – In March 2013, the Guatemalan government launched a critical nationwide policy to better protect child victims of crimes, drafted with the help of IJM Guatemala and UNICEF.

This "General Instruction" policy substantially improves how public prosecutors handle crimes against children – including cases of sexual assault – from the initial report of abuse through the entire legal process.

IJM Bolivia: Teacher Convicted for Assaulting 13-Year-Old Student

LA PAZ, BOLIVIA – Belen's* mother sat quietly on the wooden bench. She stood out against the drab courtroom in her brightly colored shawl and heavy skirt – traditional clothing for an indigenous woman in Bolivia. She had been waiting for this moment for three years, since that day when she received a call urging her to come quickly to her daughter's school.

Three years ago, 13-year-old Belen was assaulted by her physical education teacher. He had instructed Belen to go into a small room used for measuring students' height and weight, then covered her eyes and sexually abused her.