AVP Guatemala partnered with the National Civil Police Chaplain’s office in 2017 to work with recent police graduates after 14 officers committed suicide in 2016. Since this partnership began, AVP Facilitators reached over 500 National Civil Police Officers, offering 16 workshops with officers, chaplains and students, approximately half of whom are women.
When facilitators began workshops with officers, they quickly realized that many police officers were dealing with trauma. They heard testimonies of officers being underpaid and lacking the training and tools needed to de-escalate conflicts in Guatemala City, where an estimated 100 deaths a week occur.
“There is a lot of violence thrown at them daily. Many times they arrive at a crime scene and don’t know if they will leave alive,” Lorena Escobar, AVP Guatemala National Coordinator, explained. “Sometimes they find a woman cut into pieces… They don’t even see (others) as human anymore. They have to desensitize themselves, but the trauma never stops because they live through something new every day.”
According to narrative reports, the workshops help officers see their own humanity and learn important tools to transform situations of conflict in both their work and personal lives.