DOJ, in cooperation with USAID, has funded the construction and design of model Victim/Witness Assistance Centers in the Sectional Prosecutor Offices in Bogota, Cali and Bucaramanga. The centers are modeled after Victim/Witness Assistance Offices in U.S. Attorney’s Offices. The mission of these centers is to provide assistance to the families of victims through information, updates and explanation of their cases and legal process, accompaniment to the case hearings, and referrals to psychological and social services as needed. In 2011, additional centers will be opened throughout Colombia and this concept of victim assistance will also be duplicated with the Human Rights Unit and its 15 regional offices.
JSRP also organized the first International Victims´ Assistance Symposium in Bogota. The concept of this event evolved from the work of the Victims´ Assistance Center (“CAV”) in Bogota. The Symposium discussed how to provide psychological and legal assistance to victims and how to create greater awareness of the importance of timely assistance for victims. Over 250 public servants and 200 victims had the opportunity to listen to international and national experts in the field of victims’ assistance. JSRP also expects to sponsor the second International Victims´ Assistance Symposium in May 2011.