There are 14,000 complaints of sexual violence in the education system since 2014

The Minister of Education, María Brown, assures that teachers denounced for sexual violence file protection actions to return to their jobs.

The case of sexual violence against a 14-year-old girl shocked the country on April 26. She denounced that she was abused by him school bus driver so that the principal of the school would believe him.

Now, the teenager has decided to go back to school.

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“It was a family decision. thanks to the will of the student who asked to resume classes”, says the Minister of Education Mary Brownwho maintains direct contact with the victim’s mother.

“A change of team was made, both in student counseling and in the authority of the institution. She is going to follow a treatment and we are also doing several restorative and socio-emotional support processes with her colleagues, ”explains Brown.

According to data from Registry of Cases of Sexual Violence (Redevi)in the country there 14,000 complaints of sexual violence in the educational system from 2014 to April 2022.

“Cases range from verbal abuse, that is, some sexist comment, some discriminatory phrase, to rape,” explains Minister Brown.

71.7% of cases occur outside the education system, while 28.3% occur within schools and colleges. These children and young people have been victims of teachers, authorities, administrative staff, cleaning staff or other students.

The AAMPETRA reportof the Assembly commission that investigated cases of sexual abuse between 2015 and 2018, warned at that time that the 84% of the cases remained in impunity.

Only 16% go to trial, 12% received a conviction and 7% received an acquittal, the majority due to abandonment of the causes.

“The justice response lacks empathy with the victims, it talks about how Ecuadorians have values ​​by believing or not in children when they are victims of sexual abuse,” he says. Bernice Corderoformer Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion (Mies).

Complaints that enter the educational system have two routes: The judicial, through the Prosecutor’s Office, and the administrative, which is internal. In general, this last sanction occurs before the judicial process ends.

“As a protection measure, the protocol indicates that the Ministry of Education, when having a case of sexual violence, immediately separates the teacher from the classroom, he is relocated to administrative activities and contact with students is withdrawn,” explains Brown.

Protection actions for those reported

But there are cases in which those denounced -that is, the aggressors- file protection actions before the court asking for the reinstatement of the charges, and those requests come faster than a sentence.

“If administrative actions are taken in the educational system, which are then left unsubstantiated, the message we give is one of impunity.”

Mary Brown.

These judicial decisions contradict the protocols and the observations that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights made to Ecuador, for the case of Paola Guzmán.

There are sentences that are so specific, such as returning the charge to the same schoolto the same position they had,” says Brown.

For Cordero, who also works at Fundación Dignidad, this has been a recurring strategy. He considers that the critical knot is in the reports that are delivered to the judges.

“Usually there should be two, one from the Student Council (DECE) and another from the Conflict Resolution Board. In the DECE there are professionals who support the victims, but in the meetings it seems to me that there is a corporate vision of defending the teacher”, adds Cordero.

This is one of several obstacles that victims and their families encounter in order to continue with the legal processes. According to a report from the Coalition Against Child Sexual Abuse (Cocase), 60% of cases are not reported for fear of reprisals.

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There are 14,000 complaints of sexual violence in the education system since 2014