During this period of COVID-19 domestic violence has increased dramatically in every country experiencing a lockdown. In Bolivia Future4Children´s and our local partner Huellas & Futuro have for several years worked with prevention and intervention of domestic abuse against children through our project Wawas. In order to continue helping abused children, we have adapted the project to these special circumstances:
First, Wawas´ psychologists, lawyers and social workers are available by phone, WhatsApp, Facebook and local social media to provide remote help and assistance.
Second, we have developed and launched an online tool to identify abuse and provide intervention. Due to the fact that in Bolivia domestic violence is almost considered normal and legitimate, many children cannot identify whether a situation is categorized as abuse. Therefore, the online questionnaire helps victims recognize their own conditions and determine whether they need immediate help or not.
It has been a week since the launch of the online tool, which was spread both through social media and through networks with more than 60 domestic violence related institutions. So far, 26 children and adults have asked for help, and in 3 critical cases the police had to come to the rescue.
Footnote: Wawas is a project undertaken by Future4Children and the Bolivian local organization Huellas&Futuro to help abused and at-risk children of domestic violence. In the first round of the project in 2016-18 we helped approximately 2.500 children and their families. With the tremendous positive impacts achieved, we decided to repeat and scale the process to reach an additional 10.000 children starting in the end of 2018.
During 2019 we reached thousands of children with more than 400 workshops to inform and prevent violence, and held hundreds of psychological sessions and legal services. One of the tremendous results is that the Bolivian government has decided that the program we developed and used in schools to identify and prevent domestic violence, will now be obligatory at all primary schools in Bolivia. The is the ultimate result we could ever have wished for!