Domestic violence reportedly affects 1 in 3 households in Mexico of which only 14% seek any kind of support, despite 72% reporting that they expect violence to be repeated. Furthermore, levels of violence are much higher in marginalized communities than these national averages reveal– 100% of the families with whom we work show some level of violence and abuse.
Puebla, where JUCONI is based, is one of the most marginalized states in Mexico and has some of the worst social indicators in the country. It is ranked in the 31st place (out of 32) in terms of percentage of children who report emotional abuse at home. Every year, thousands of children are pushed to the streets by the violence, poverty, and abuse found in their homes or communities. However, a life based on the street, whether it is because it is the source of economic activity for a child or it is the place he or she calls home, exposes the child to economic, mental, and physical abuse and exploitation. Children who live or work on the street are denied their right to an education, to form strong and positive relationships with caring adults, as well as the opportunity to develop skills necessary to lead productive and meaningful lives. The hardship they face every day makes these children one of the most vulnerable segments of society.
JUCONI´s beneficiaries usually come from the following backgrounds:
The issue of how violence deeply and negatively affects child development is now widely recognised, particularly following the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children. There is greater recognition of how the issue of domestic violence impacts on children’s move onto the streets, as well as on wider levels of societal violence - in turn a significant factor determining society’s sustainable and equitable growth. Domestic and social violence are inextricably linked, with children who witness or experience abuse much more likely to display violent behaviour in adulthood. Research shows neglect, abuse and trauma severely impair children’s cognitive development and, if not addressed, greatly increase risks of drug abuse, mental health problems and criminality. Many of the street-involved children with whom JUCONI works with have all suffered from some level of family violence. The damage to these children’s emotional development is then compounded by traumatic experiences on the street and/or other abusive relationships.
JUCONI provides integral attention to children and marginalized families of Puebla who live family and social violence in order to integrate them to the society and promote the exercise and benefit of their rights.
Attention is centered in three phases: Contact making, Intensive support and Follow-up. JUCONI has worked successfully with children from six years of age, offering integral attention including families within the three institutional subprograms: street-living, street-working and street market-working children. Into the last subprogram JUCONI has made contact with brothers/sisters of children working in Market Hidalgo (the biggest and most hectic in Puebla) by considering them at high risk of beginning its labor participation at early ages, -which is completely against their rights. The project looks for extending the contact population within this subprogram. Evaluation results of programs that work with early childhood demonstrate that focusing on populations with greater needs - those children at high risk of having a delayed development, are the programs with best results. Consequently, a new element of this project will be to elaborate a needs diagnosis that will identify children who demonstrate delay in their development as well as those between 2 and 5 years of age who are at high risk of starting to work.
In the intensive phase, methodologies are based on family therapy (group and individual) with a personalized, integral and eco-systemic approach that will intensively work to help children and their families to solve their own problems, using psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic tools in a practical way. Also, by the complex nature of family violence and its negative effects in all the scopes of family life, the JUCONI answer includes: I) Prevention of violence in families; II) Early detection and intervention; III) Minimization of negative impacts at the long term through the provision of suitable therapeutic processes; and IV) Prevention of risks that can cause a backslide in the violence.
The activities are carried out in marginalized areas of Puebla City where JUCONI established its programs and three centers: a residential center for street-living children -JUCONI House-, a center for street-living young people – youth’s house-, and the JUCONI Center- that works like a day center for street market-working children who live with their families. Children are the main beneficiaries but also parents so that they learn how to play a protective role for their children. Also, highlights JUCONI collaboration with other institutions such as –Integral Development for the Family (DIF), the Correctional Center for Young Transgressors, governmental schools, teachers, community leaders, police, and patrons among others, with the aim to foment inclusive atmospheres for a suitable insertion of children, young people and their families to the society.
During the follow-up phase. Children, young people and their families are prepared for their graduation of the program. In this stage the family is visited with less regularity in order to move on without the support of JUCONI. In this phase the youngsters have developed the necessary skills which will allow them to integrate successfully to the society.