IJM El Salvador partnered with Shelter Helps, a development organization working in the field of housing for people living in poverty and the Prosecutor´s Office of the region of San Vicente to share resources and best practices for accessing and interacting with the public justice system. This initiative aimed to equip Shelter Helps with the necessary knowledge to provide comprehensive support to victims of violence.
SAN VICENTE, EL SALVADOR –
The staff of the Prosecutor's Office for the region of San Vicente met for the first time with Shelter Helps´ staff to find common areas for collaboration in favour of people living in vulnerable conditions.
During this meeting, the Prosecutor’s Office provided training on the complaint filing process and instructed the attendees on the services available for victims and survivors of Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC). Shelter Helps is a Canadian international NGO that works in over 250 communities in El Salvador, providing safe, cost-effective homes for families living in extreme material poverty, and equipping community leaders to assure that families most in need are prioritized. Their goal is to positively impact families' lives and develop holistic and long-term transformation in Salvadoran communities. As part of this holistic approach, Shelter Helps partners with other NGOs to address various issues affecting these families.
Shelter Helps’ volunteers are now better prepared to help victims of violence file a complaint with the justice system.
Some people served by Shelter Helps suffer physical and sexual violence in their homes or communities. The most vulnerable are women and children who lack proper access to justice institutions to report a case of violence. In other cases, women choose not to pursue justice due to low confidence in the criminal justice system or due to a lack of awareness of how the justice system institutions work or what services they provide (IUDOP, 2022).
Therefore, it becomes necessary to bring the justice system institutions closer to key community actors, foster collaboration to disseminate information about the justice services available to the community and coordinate efforts to ease victims' access to the system.
In the face of this need, Shelter Helps and IJM are sharing resources and best practices to provide victims of violence with adequate support. By facilitating this visit between local actors, IJM continues to foster collaboration that equips their service to the community and expands access to justice.
“We are thrilled and grateful because the Community Development Department [Shelter Helps El Salvador Field Office] now knows more accurately what to do when we find out about cases of violence against women, children, and people in the community. We understand that we are not directly responsible for doing justice. Still, now we have a tool to guide them and bring them [victims and survivors] closer to institutions that can help them.” Jenny Avalos, Community Development Director.