The Bolivian public justice performance research study
The Bolivian justice system obtains a conviction in less than 0.05% of sexual assault cases against children. This poor rate of conviction is due largely to a failure to complete trials in a timely manner. Many cases end before reaching a verdict. In addition, only about 15% of incidents of sexual violence against children are ever reported by families of victims, which is likely explained by low rates of confidence in the criminal justice system.
This study will develop a more systematic body of evidence on the effectiveness of the Bolivian judicial system in investigating and prosecuting child sexual assault cases. It will be implemented by International Justice Mission Canada, a global organization protecting the poor from violence throughout the developing world. Research will be conducted in collaboration with the Bolivian Magistrate’s Council, primarily in La Paz – El Alto. The study will consist of two main streams: the first will involve an analysis of closed child sexual assault cases of tribunals in La Paz – El Alto. This will allow analysts to assess performance against a series of basic criteria, such as required timeframes and procedures to process cases. The second stream will seek to gauge perceptions and confidence of key officials, inside and outside of the justice system, about the justice system’s performance in investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases against children.
Taking both lines of analysis together, the research will generate a deeper picture of existing strengths and weaknesses, as well as possible opportunities and political will for improving current performance. Targeted recommendations for improving the Bolivian justice system’s ability to address child sexual assault cases will be developed.