A gavel in a courtroom.
© bird_saranyoo/stock.adobe.com


The judiciary in Latin America: more protection and rights for women and girls

Training courses break down prejudices within the police, courts and authorities – and support those affected by sexual and gender-based violence.

On average, one in three women in Latin America has experienced physical or sexual violence, while 95 per cent of perpetrators reported to the police are never convicted. One reason for this is discrimination and a lack of knowledge in the judiciary. To tackle the issue, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is providing training on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office to courts, public prosecutors and police in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Protecting those affected from the outset

Astrid Bosch co-developed the training and is responsible for the measure. ‘Authorities often don’t realise, for example, that victims are particularly in need of protection when they report a crime. Fear prevents many from coming forward at all,’ she says. Staff follow a special protocol to ensure that those affected are treated with sensitivity, and to secure key evidence before it is lost. Before proceedings commence, a court examines whether there is a risk of further violence. Where necessary, it has the power to order perpetrators to stay away from those affected. In other cases, victims are taken straight to a place of safety. 

Programmes that prevent renewed violence

Around 1,000 judicial officers in 14 countries have participated in the training so far – including in Mexico, Ecuador and Chile. One of them is Chilean public prosecutor Alejandra Brito. The course has helped her ‘to consider the gender perspective in the entire process – from when a crime is reported through to social rehabilitation following a conviction.’

The aim of the training is not only to prosecute acts of violence against women and girls more effectively. ‘It’s also about setting up effective social rehabilitation programmes to ensure that those convicted don’t resort to violence again,’ says Bosch. They learn to respect other people and put themselves in their place. Through programmes like these, the judiciary and authorities prevent renewed violence.  

Additional information