By Ciela Ávila
In Chihuahua there are 1,724 minors under the age of 18 who lost their mothers due to femicide, says in an interview Concepción Cruz, coordinator of the Psychosocial Approach and in charge of the State Registry of Victims of the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims of the State (CEAVE).
From 2018 to June 2021, CEAVE has counted 1,010 girls and adolescents and 622 children and adolescents in a situation of orphans, according to the breakdown made by Concepción Cruz. However, these figures may be higher. “The question here is that many of the crimes of femicide are not classified as such”, He says.
According to the criminal incidence registry of the common jurisdiction of the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), From January to July 2021, 580 femicides were registered in the country. In Chihuahua 24 crimes were classified as such, nine of which correspond to the municipality of Juárez.
For a long time, in Mexico a protocol of action was needed to give support to the girls, boys and adolescents (NNA) who were left in a situation of orphans and it was august 4 when this mechanism that includes immediate help, medical and psychological care, legal representation and protection measures, was announced and published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF).
It was not only necessary to recognize girls, boys and adolescents who were orphaned due to femicide, but it was also necessary to start providing care for them.
The National Protocol for Comprehensive Attention to Girls, Boys and Adolescents in a Condition of Orphans due to Femicide it’s a joint effort of the Ministry of Health (SSa) and the National System for the Integral Development of the Family (SNDIF), the National Institute of Women (Inmujeres) and the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women (Conavim), since These institutions participated in the coordination.
“We want with this protocol avoid revictimization and guarantee their comprehensive protection”Said Fabiola Alanís, head of the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women (Conavim), during the virtual presentation on August 9, 2021.
The document is divided into seven sections: glossary, objectives, scope of application, principles, inter-institutional articulation, route of attention of the protocol and final considerations. All the authorities of the three orders of government are obliged to respect it so that girls, boys and adolescents in situations of orphanage due to femicide (NNAOF) can join a home and exercise all their rights.
“All of this was the result of a national exercise where the 32 states were surveyed, to their prosecutors and attorneys general, looking for the number and characteristics of children orphaned by femicide that had been identified during 2019. Thanks to this exercise, we obtained several findings: the first was the absence of records”, Said Nadine Gasman, president of Inmujeres, during her speech.
Now that work is being done on it, the attention route involves channeling the Public Ministry (MP) to coordinate with other authorities that must intervene. In its investigation, the MP will dictate the pertinent measures for the recognition of the victim and the DIF systems will provide social assistance.
“This protocol has a service path which details each of the steps and processes that must be carried out to protect the physical integrity of these children and adolescents in this condition of orphan due to femicide and the procedure to follow for the restoration of their rights ”, mentioned María del Rocío García, head of the SNDIF.
When identifying a NNAOF, the protocol contemplates from immediate help measures, emergency medical and psychological care, legal representation, protection measures and even non-repetition.
“It is in the hands of the instances of the women of the federative entities of the municipalities and in the attributions of the Executive Commissions for Attention to Victims to provide the status of indirect victims to NNAOF and also guarantee accompaniment in the procedure of grief and psychological and social in general ”, added Commissioner Fabiola Alanís.
The psychosocial impact of orphans due to femicide
At the local level, CEAVE is in charge of caring for minors, as it is the operational area of the State Victim Assistance System of the Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office. When there is a case of femicide, the First Contact area is in charge of identifying the immediate needs of the affected family.
“A comprehensive care plan and from there it is linked externally and internally to infer in the actions: if it must be passed to the legal area, social work, psychology, or if it is required to deploy to other institutions. […] Then there is a permanent and comprehensive accompaniment, mainly due to grief, and we work with the children, their guardians and also with individual or family processes ”, explains the coordinator of the Psychosocial Approach.
For her part, Tania Luján, member of the CEAVE Interdisciplinary Evaluation Committee, states that prior to the protocol, within the Commission A comprehensive reparation program for femicide victims was created. “This program has the objective of guarantee comprehensive reparation, including questions of food, health, education ”, he details in an interview.
One of the specific objectives of the protocol is to guide the offering of the psychological and socio-educational accompaniment of girls and boys under 12 and adolescents under 18 years of age.
“The situation of children and adolescents is of special concern in the context of feminicidal violence, because it constitutes a traumatic event that, in addition to breaking the idea of the family as a space of protection, places them at greater risk of the violation of their rights. The impact is serious and requires the intervention of all responsible institutions”Says the document.
In this regard, Concepción Cruz, coordinator of the Psychosocial Approach, talks about the fact that girls, boys and adolescents have to work on adaptation processes for new family environments.
“They tend to have developmental delays, language problems, biological consequences in their evolutionary and behavioral processes,” he specifies about those who experience the loss of their mother at a very early age, before 6 years of age.
Grief is a process that girls, boys and adolescents experience differently from those of adults. These are traumatic conditions where there is no preparation to face levels of horror, violence and abuse.
“Generally children are very young, many of them do not remember, they just inherit the grief of the family. Younger children have no memory because their cognitive abilities are not yet fully developed, “says Cruz.
For this reason, people under the age of 12 have a better chance of recovery than in adolescence.
“Children have a lot of positive coping resources, as long as we do an appropriate approach, we intervene in a timely manner and work comprehensively with restorative keys. They do recover because there are possibilities of closing processes “, he says.
Ivonne Mendoza, general coordinator of the Center for the Integral Development of Women AC (Cedimac), agrees that the most complex situation it is not the duel. For her it’s about adoption.
“I think it is the main problem that the relatives of the victims of femicide encounter, parents who have to carry out adoption processes that are not quick, nor are they easy,” he laments.
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Femicides Chihuahua National System for the Integral Development of the Family (SNDIF) National Institute of Women (Inmujeres)