The epidemic of sexual violence in Bolivia is devastating. With a population of only 10 million, tens of thousands of sexual assaults against children occur every year. But from 2000 to 2007, the criminal justice system convicted fewer than three perpetrators of child sexual assault per year.¹
Getting justice in court takes years; the process is complex, cumbersome and frequently derails. Sexual predators act with impunity. Young survivors of sexual violence who live in poverty have little hope of finding justice. Courts are backlogged and often lack effective case management processes. The few cases that move through the system can take years before reaching a sentence.
We are fighting to change this system and protect children from sexual violence.
We partner with the Bolivian National Police and Defensoría de la Niñez (Bolivian social services) to rescue children who are at risk of further abuse and bring them to safe places.
Bring Criminals to Justice
We support the Bolivian National Police to locate and arrest suspects, and partner with government prosecutors to ensure that child rapists and pedophiles are convicted.
We provide trauma-focused therapy for children who have endured sexual violence, and help survivors who choose to participate in the trial prepare to share the truth in court. We make sure families have the support they need, so children can heal in a stable environment.
Since December 2006, we have rescued more than 160 children and secured more than 120 convictions. Cases of sexual violence against children are 30 times more likely to reach a conviction if IJM is involved.
We have trained more than a thousand teachers and educators on how to identify and report sexual assault cases. They are now equipped to protect the more than 25,000 students they serve.
We have successfully advocated for trials to be concluded in as few as 18 days – a major step forward in a country where cases usually take years, if they reach any verdict at all.
The Bolivian government has invited us to train all government psychologists working with the Social Services Ministry to help ensure that children who survive sexual assault receive sensitive care through the justice system process.
Our Team in Bolivia
¹Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros. The Locust Effect. Oxford University Press, 2014.