It seems street children face abuse from all sides.
The original abuse of a neglectful home
Police and state-sponsored brutality
Exploitation from pimps and drug dealers
The indifference of passers-by
Many such children seek solace in solvents and other risky behaviours, convinced that their lives are worthless and there is little point in hoping for a better alternative. By the time our Street Outreach teams find them, the child has often suffered years of physical and/or sexual abuse, and frequently resorts to self-harm.
Recovering from this type of trauma takes specialist care, which Casa Alianza counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists provide within our residential shelters. In Guatemala City, for example, they tend to girls who have suffered the most horrific forms of sexual violence – victims of trafficking and gang rape – and painstakingly help them take steps to rebuild their lives.
Providing this level of medical care costs a lot of money, but is absolutely essential to the long-term healing process of the children we serve. By donating to Compass Children’s Charity today, you will be contributing massively to this ongoing effort.
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– See more at: http://www.compasschildrenscharity.org.uk/issues
The lives of many children in Latin America are blighted by violence on a daily basis. The scale of the problem is staggering, and at times overwhelming.
Most of the children Casa Alianza encounters originally arrived on the streets seeking to flee domestic violence within their own families. Even before the pimps, drug dealers and professional criminal gangs reach them on the streets; these children have been the victims of violence many times over. At home, at school and on the streets, acts of aggression are commonplace, from beatings to sexual abuse to young people killing other young people as part of coordinated gang warfare.
Such violence compromises child development and leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of aggression from which it is very hard to escape.
Changing a cultural mindset through conciliation
Inside Casa Alianza safe houses, former street children get to experience a whole other reality. Cross that threshold and the atmosphere palpably changes – to one of calm, consensus and collaboration.
The young people who come to live in our residential shelters have many hurdles to overcome before they can settle into their new way of living, and one of the hardest things for a lot of them, ironically, is adjusting to a life free from all forms of violence. The team of counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists works closely with the children to address these issues, and help them see that violence isn’t a natural or productive choice in life.
At a strategic level, Casa Alianza acts to prevent all forms of violence against children and teenagers in society, seeking to influence public policy and legislative regulations that benefit children across Latin America as a whole.
Getting away with murder
Where do you even begin to combat an entire culture of impunity?
This is the question Casa Alianza has been confronting for over a quarter of a century as they fight to defend the rights of street children and seek justice for the crimes committed against them.
The countries which we support – Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – do have laws that define and penalise the unlawful practices related to trafficking, exploitation and of course, the murder of children. Yet children go on being abused and killed, week in, week out, with precious few adults even being held to account.
Help us make headway in fighting impunity
And this is why we need your help. The more voices that join us in pressuring the authorities to act, the more voices that call for an end to a culture that condones the most heinous crimes against children, the more chance we have of changing things. Please take the first step today and sign up for our newsletter, for practical ways to speak up for street children in Latin America.