Guatemala: Whether the Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres assists women who have been victimized by strangers (not cases domestic violence); what services the group offers to such women; and what other resources, support or redress, are available to such women
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 December 1998|
|Citation / Document Symbol||GTM30599.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Guatemala: Whether the Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres assists women who have been victimized by strangers (not cases domestic violence); what services the group offers to such women; and what other resources, support or redress, are available to such women, 1 December 1998, GTM30599.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aceb63.html [accessed 26 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The information that follows was provided by a senior staff member of the Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres (Guatemalan Women's Group, GGM) during a 1 December 1998 telephone interview.
The GGM is a non-government organization of women that provides, among other things, assistance to young and adult women who are victims of violence, domestic and non-domestic. The GGM's program of assistance and accompaniment (atención y acompañamiento) includes use of a shelter and legal, psychological and social support. The GGM is based in the capital city of Guatemala and works mostly in the urban centre and its marginal areas, but it networks with other organizations; for example, there is a similar group in Quezaltenango (Xelajú) that also has a shelter and provides assistance within its limited means.
Other programs of the GGM include research on women's issues, a training (formación y capacitación) program, a program for social awareness, prevention and dissemination of information, and a small documentation centre.
Besides the assistance that can be received directly from a non-government support group, a woman can follow the process that is colloquially referred to as "the women's route"(la ruta de las mujeres). This begins by reporting the crime to the police; the victim should present to the police as much information on the crime and the attacker as possible, to have a better chance of effective action. The police issue a report (denuncia), which has to be taken to the public attorney (Ministerio Publico). After receiving the report, the public attorney can summon the attacker for an interview and act as a mediator, or forward the case to a court if it falls under penal jurisdiction.
A problem with cases of violence by strangers is that police will not likely act in the absence of clear leads and information that could identify and locate the attacker. It is difficult to ensure effective police and judicial action even in cases where the victim provides clear identification and location of the attacker; a case that lacks these will not advance or proceed. Another problem that occurs within the police and judicial system is the peddling of influence: a person who has acquaintances, influence or money can find ways to affect decisively the processing or the outcome of a case.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres (GGM), Guatemala City. 1 December 1998. Telephone interview with senior staff member.