RISE, a community legal information organization that offers support for victims of sexual and intimate partner violence and workplace sexual harassment, has published a series of reports aimed at offering guidance to victims of sexual assault on PEI who are over the age of 18. “Reporting Sexual Assault: A Guide for Victims on PEI” offers information on where to access support services and the types of supports that are available, what constitutes sexual assault and consent, sexual assault evidence kits, among other important information. The “Sexual Assault Prosecution: A Guide for Victims on PEI” report discusses prosecution of sexual assault and offers an overview of the process, the parties involved, and addresses questions that might arise for persons going through the process.
“Reporting Sexual Assault: A Guide for Victims on PEI” and “Sexual Assault Prosecution: A Guide for Victims on PEI” are available on the RISE website in French and English here: https://www.risepei.com/en/downloads. The publications are not a substitute for guidance from a lawyer.
On average, it costs users of local, paralegal services in Sierra Leone US $8.44 to access the service, far below what it costs to access the formal justice system. According to a new report on the Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone, without these community-based justice services, the government would spend approximately US $23.3M to support access to justice services through the formal justice system. This compares with approximately US $18.3M to access community-based justice services. This is among several important findings from a first-of-its-kind study by the Center for Alternative Policy Research & Innovation on The Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone.
The report makes 10 recommendations for scaling up paralegal-based justice services, including:
- Establishing a National Legal Empowerment Fund;
- Funding exploratory research;
- Further reducing out-of-pocket costs to access community-based justice services;
- Meaningfully integrating community-based justice services in the broader justice sector; and
- Building robust and efficient monitoring and evaluation systems.
The Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone by Felix Marco Conteh, Yakama Manty Jones, Sonkita Conteh, Henry Mbawa and Aisha Fofana Ibrahim (CAPRI) is available online here: https://www.caprisl.org/post/the-costs-and-benefits-of-community-based-justice-in-sierra-leone.
This project was funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and is one of the final research outputs from a multi-country research initiative on Community-Based Justice Research.
A new policy paper by The Elders outlines frameworks and tools for all nation states to respect and proposes measures for governments, civil society, and the legal community to adopt to ensure that “access to justice and the rule of law form the bedrock of the post-pandemic recovery.”
“Access to Justice for Women and the Rule of Law” examines the impacts that the ongoing global health crisis has had on access to justice for women, including as relates to increased risks of intimate partner violence and difficulties accessing support services. The paper takes turns discussing each of three main barriers women face in seeking access to justice: discriminatory laws, discrimination in the application of laws, and complex and inaccessible justice systems. Recommendations for a way forward include:
- A holistic, long-term, and collaborative approach to understanding women’s justice needs
- Repealing discriminatory laws and enacting legislation that better protects women
- Improving data collection and analysis to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the scale of the justice gap as it affects women
- Efforts by the legal community to increase the number of women in senior positions within the justice system
- Measures to ensure that services for women are accessible and empowering and reflect a people-centred approach to justice
To read “Access to Justice for Women and the Rule of Law”, visit: https://theelders.org/sites/default/files/newsarticaldocument/The-Elders-Access-to-Justice-for-Women-and-the-Rule-of-Law.pdf.
A new report by B.C. based Rise Women’s Legal Centre examines the province’s family law system and its responsiveness to family violence matters. Research was carried out over 3 years and includes both consultations with experts, and focus group interviews with women across more than 20 communities in B.C. who had lived experience of violence and the legal system.
The report makes several recommendations for improvements that will contribute to dispelling myths and stereotypes. The report also discusses the need for a better understanding of the seriousness of both physical and non-physical violence.
Why Can’t Everyone Just Get Along? How BC’s Family Law System Puts Survivors in Danger by Haley Hrymak and Kim Hawkins, and published by Rise Women’s Legal Centre is available online here: https://www.citynews1130.com/2021/02/05/b-c-s-family-law-system-fails-abused-women-puts-survivors-in-danger-report/.
“Justice For Women Amidst Covid-19” is a newly published report that outlines some of the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed access to justice for women around the world.
The report documents both new challenges and pre-existing gender justice gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, including an increase in domestic violence, and implores that urgent action to be taken. With stay-at-home orders in effect to varying extents globally, many local avenues for help have not been available or accessible to women.
Director-General of IDLO, Jan Beagle urges that we not make gender equality and women’s rights a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. She adds that, “as the risk of gender-based violence continues to grow during the pandemic, and the ability of justice institutions to effectively deliver services is diminished, it is of utmost priority to forge innovative ways to support women’s access to justice and empower them to realize their rights.”
The report also makes the case for investment in justice services and programs that will benefit women and girls and presents strategies to improve access to justice for women.
“Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19” was jointly produced by UN Women, IDLO, UNDP, UNODC, World Bank and The Pathfinders for Justice; the report is supported by The Elders. “Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19” is available in full here: https://www.justice.sdg16.plus/justiceforwomen.
The Task Force on Justice is an initiative by the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies that aims to contribute to better justice outcomes for people and communities throughout the world. The Task Force’s High-Level Group on Justice for Women (HLG) was formed to build a better understanding of, and present evidence on justice problems that uniquely and disproportionately affect women and girls. The High-Level Group’s primary objectives are:
- Measuring the justice gap for women and girls
- Making the case for action and investment in access to justice for women and girls
- Identifying strategies, approaches, and reforms for increasing access to justice
- Determining what commitments national and local actors can make to close the justice gap, along with what cooperation is needed between international and regional actors to support access to justice at the national level
Justice, human rights and gender experts from all over the world recently worked together for the High-level Group’s global report on Justice for Women which identifies women’s justice needs and the challenges facing women worldwide. The report also presents an economic case for reform and investment in justice for women, identifies actions that can be taken to accelerate progress, and presents a call to action based on several major directions that could significantly accelerate progress toward justice for women.
“Justice for Women: High-Level Group Report” can be found here: https://www.idlo.int/sites/default/files/pdfs/publications/Justice-for-Women_report-web-FINAL.pdf.
The Justice for Women Executive Summary and Infographics can be accessed here: https://www.idlo.int/publications/justice-women-high-level-group-report.