by Higerta Gjergji

Puerta Abierta IAP was founded as a non-profit organisation in September 2004, opened a children’s home in Queretaro with a care and training program that seeks to change the fate of girls who have suffered domestic violence and were separated from their families while they were at risk, inviting them to live in a home according to a family model, placing emphasis on the quality of education, food security, psychological assistance, but above all on a loving home that accompanies them to design their life plan. 

The objectives are to care for and rehabilitate children who have suffered violence through a program of assistance that helps them to strengthen their emotional and physical state so as not to repeat the patterns of violence in the families that are forming in their adult life and allow them to create a positive life project; and violence prevention through educational programs and workshops for parents, teachers and students to reduce violence by providing them with tools to respond to conflict without violence – PAXIA-Violence Prevention Course.

Domestic violence, or abuse among family members, is a priority problem in public health because of the effects it causes on people, both physical and emotional (or both). The numbers of violence are alarming.

Mexico is home to almost 40 million children and adolescents, representing 35% of the population and on whose well-being the present and future development of the country depends today. More than half of them are in poverty (51.1%).

With the approval of the General Law on the Rights of Childhood and Adolescence (LGDNNA) in December 2014 and the creation of the National System for the Global Protection of Children and Adolescents (SIPINNA) In 2015, Mexico made significant progress in adjusting its regulatory and institutional framework in just two years.

Despite progress, huge gaps and obstacles remain which prevent universal and fair access to rights and leave millions of children and adolescents on their margins, in conditions of extreme vulnerability and inequality.

Mexico ranks first in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) when it comes to child abuse: 7 out of 10 children have suffered some kind of violence, 3 die every day because of it, according to the research of Puerta Abierta updated to 2019 on the Unicef’s Agenda de la Infancia y la Adolescentia 2019-2024 by United Nations Children’s Fund.

During 2014, the country’s DIF systems reported that they assisted an average of 152 children and adolescents every day for likely cases of abuse, of which 35% for physical abuse, 27% for lack of care, 18% for emotional abuse, 15% for abandonment and 4% for sexual abuse. For its part, the National Health and Nutrition Survey (ENSANUT 2012) identifies schools and public roads as environments where 8 out of 10 attacks occur against children and adolescents between 10 and 17 years. These data show that violence against children and adolescents in Mexico is critical and that family-related violence continues to be widely accepted; particularly corporal punishment or other humiliating forms of punishment.

Puerta Abierta works to eliminate violence and promote a culture of peace and well-being, and to break the patterns of domestic violence, through two strategic programs:

– The Family Home, where young people are welcomed with a programme of emotional development, academic, professional and physical development. In September 2019 the facilities were expanded, increasing the capacity to serve up to 24 young people.

PAXIA programme. A violence prevention program provided by the Universidad Anáhuac campus Querétaro and the Universidad Mondragón, which aims to increase skills and train change agents for the prevention of violence.

On the cover photo, children from the Puerta Abierta website