Families in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are exposed to high levels of crime, violence and gang culture and the region suffers some of the highest homicide rates in the world. Illegal firearms are widely available, with demand driven by high levels of perceived insecurity, weak gun control and failings in disarmament following the countries' civil wars.
With support from Switzerland, HALO commissioned a community level study to understand how vulnerable communities are affected by the misuse of small arms in Central America's Northern Triangle—Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The aim of the study was to inform a needs and rights based approach for future violence reduction and prevention initiatives in the region. The research was based on group discussions with women, children, families and young people living in communities affected by high levels of violence. This was supported by interviews with relevant actors, including security forces, community leaders, NGOs, social workers and policy-makers.