Guatemala is one of the most dangerous places for women in all of Latin America. Children, especially girls, are vulnerable to violence. Sexual predators go unrestrained, with only 6% of reported cases of sexual violence eventually reaching a verdict.¹
When predators know that if they assault or rape a child they are unlikely to face any consequence whatsoever, sexual violence becomes a relentless, everyday threat for children.
When we first began working in Guatemala, expert friends in the human rights community cautioned us that the justice system was too broken to ever change—that our mission would be impossible. But, alongside our government partners, we are proving every day that change is possible for children in Guatemala.
¹International Justice Mission. “Study of the Guatemalan Criminal Justice System, Cases of Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents.” (2013).
When children are at risk of further abuse, we partner with the Public Ministry, Child Welfare Agency, National Civil Police and other agencies to get them to safety.
Bring Criminals to Justice
With the National Civil Police and other authorities, we help locate and arrest suspects, and partner with government prosecutors to ensure that perpetrators are convicted.
We provide trauma-focused therapy for children who have survived sexual violence. We make sure families have the support they need for children to heal in a stable environment, including support groups, education assistance and more.
Strengthen Justice Systems
We have launched a System Reform project with Guatemalan authorities designed to substantially improve the way the justice system deters child sexual assault and how law enforcement and courts respond to child victims.
“Today we have the opportunity to pass on a brighter future to the children of Guatemala: a future with better protection against sexual violence. The time is right to join forces and take action!”
Alongside our government partners, we are proving every day that change is possible for children in Guatemala. In 2012, we helped secure more than 1 out of every 3 convictions against pedophiles in the state where we work.
We are an active member of an influential coalition aimed at increasing the awareness of child sexual assault and influencing government actors to implement policies to address the problem.
In 2012, IJM helped secure more than 1 out of every 3 convictions against pedophiles in the state where we work.
In August of 2014, the Guatemalan Vice President and the Interior Minister signed an agreement to partner with IJM for four years to strengthen the specialized Sex Crimes Unit of the National Civil Police.
Our Team in Guatemala
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Field Office Director: Brad Twedt
Focus: Sexual Violence