Preliminary findings from the El Salvador report reveal that criminal violence is highly targeted an individualised. In the absence of coordinated state support, people rely on their own networks and often don’t report their situation for fear of reprisal. This means they have few safe options inside the country, which leads to repeated displacement, severe restrictions on freedom of movement and significant crossborder flight.
The research, as part of IDMC's thematic series "Web of violence: crime and displacement in Central America", also reveals that, in attempting to combat extremely high levels of violence in El Salvador, repressive state security measures have triggered new displacement, as gangs target police and their families, and security forces target young people in gang-affected areas.
The study draws on extensive desk research covering the academic literature and latest empirical reports, and qualitative data collected in 51 interviews with 80 experts in El Salvador and Mexico City during March and April 2018.