Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Committed to justice and reparation for violent children and adolescents

In its four years of operation, the interdisciplinary team led by Professor María Elena Santibáñez has sponsored more than 200 cases and assisted more than 300 children and adolescents who have been victims of violent and/or sexual crimes. Today he needs our help to continue delivering this unique service in our country.

Created in 2018 thanks to the sponsorship of the Fundación Viento Sur, the Childhood Area of ​​the UC Law Legal Clinic offers comprehensive and interdisciplinary care to children and adolescents (NNA) who have been victims of sexual and/or violent crimes. To do this, it has a team of professionals specialized in legal areas, both criminal and family, with the active participation of UC Law students who develop their practical curricular training. Added to this is a socioeconomic (social work) and psychological care team, offering a unique interdisciplinary care model in our country, which allows victims to face this painful situation and move on the path of reparation.

“This area has two essential purposes: teaching, insofar as it translates into the practical training of law students at our Faculty, and service, through the provision of an interdisciplinary and free legal service for people who cannot access a private lawyer”, explained the director of the Legal Clinic, Rodrigo Azócar.

From its beginnings to date, the Childhood Area has sponsored more than 200 cases and assisted more than 300 children, with mostly satisfactory results for them and their families, including 33 convictions. Among them is the family of little Dylan, who died at the age of eight while traveling on public transport when he was shot in the middle of a fight between two subjects. Thanks to the Children’s Area today they find comfort after reaching a conviction for those involved in his death. “We were totally embraced and received incredible and immediate help. As a family we do not have how to thank everything they did for Dylan and for us , “said the uncle of the deceased child.

The Children’s Area has sponsored more than 200 cases and assisted more than 300 children, with mostly satisfactory results for them and their families, including 33 convictions.

In relation to cases related to sexual crimes suffered by children and adolescents, Professor María Elena Santibáñez, coordinator of the Children’s Area, maintained that it is a complex field since the criminal procedure system is not designed for children and adolescents. adolescents, demanding that they go through several interventions with a view to corroborating their testimony. This, together with other factors, such as the lack of awareness that exists in general throughout the process, as well as the lack of evidence typical of this type of investigation, make the system more hostile to children and adolescents. This means that the victim usually has to testify several times during the process, “which is obviously more complex when dealing with minors, who all the more reason need a long process to identify and talk about the trauma,”

“This is a complex field since the criminal procedure system is not designed for children and adolescents, requiring them to go through various interventions in order to corroborate their testimony”- María Elena Santibáñez, coordinator of the Children’s Area

“Three years ago, my daughter suffered sexual abuse. After making the complaint, the criminal and family path became very complex. We knock on many doors; the private system was largely out of our economic situation and the public system is absolutely collapsed. Thanks to the Children’s Area team of the UC Legal Clinic, today I can say that my daughter has a normal life and she is a happy girl and I hope that many other families can opt for an opportunity like this”, were Fernanda’s words.

“This area has two essential purposes: teaching, insofar as it translates into the practical training of law students at our Faculty, and service, through the provision of an interdisciplinary and free legal service for people who cannot access a private lawyer”- Rodrigo Azócar, director of the UC Legal Clinic

“I want to invite all those who want to contribute to making a change in the lives of these children and adolescents who have been victims of crimes, so that they can contribute and make a contribution that allows the Children’s Area to continue subsisting”, was the call from Professor Santibáñez.

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