The path that the families of children and adolescents victims of sexual crimes have to walk is exhausting. The judicial process after the complaint may take more than three years and is undermined by endless interviews, investigations, and delayed hearings.
The complaint is the first section in the “desperation path of the victim,” says psychologist Annabelle Arévalo on the judicial process for sexual crimes against minors. The Coordinator of Prevention of Violence at the Ecuadorian Center for the Promotion and Action of Women (Cepam) has gone hand in hand with them in that journey.
On the way, there are interviews with prosecutors and psychologists, medical check-ups, testimonies in Gesell’s chamber -which are repeated if there are recording failures- and audiences that can be postponed.
Between 2015 and September 2017, the Office of the Prosecutor has registered 4 934 complaints of rape, sexual harassment, and abuse against children and adolescents, which are investigated to determine whether or not the crime occurred. 14% occurred in the educational field.
“Given the tragedy, the number of professionals is not enough. They must be highly qualified to give support to the child and their families,” acknowledges Minister of Justice Rosana Alvarado. (I)