ICAAD has assembled a diverse team to understand how structural inequities further SGBV in the Pacific Island region. After one year of developing evidence based research on 12 countries in the region and recently meeting with over 25 local, regional, and international stakeholders, the team is primed to begin implementation of interventions.
Working with DLA Piper, LLP, ICAAD will improve access to justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators of SGBV by undertaking an exhaustive case law analysis of all 12 countries of the Pacific Island region, providing rule of law trainings, and creating educational material on SGBV for dissemination in rural areas.
To help in the analysis of legal data, ICAAD will work with Huridocs, an international NGO helping human rights organizations use information technologies and documentation methods to maximize the impact of their advocacy work. Together they will co-develop a Case Law Analyzer to assist local NGOs to monitor, index, and upload SGBV cases for comprehensive analysis.
Specifically in Fiji, ICAAD and its law firm partners have undertaken an evidence-based approach to identifying discrimination in various sectors of society, including law enforcement, judiciary, healthcare, and faith communities. ICAAD with partner with the Design School of Strategies at Parsons The New School to bring a design and technology lens this issue. Parsons students will map, monitor, analyze, and compare exactly where the systems are failing and how design and technology can be part of the solution to repairing these systems, and thereby, reducing violence.
The primary goal of these efforts is to advance the safety and access to justice for all women and girls in the region. The team will begin with a pilot program in Fiji in October 2014, and will iteratively scale the initiative over a minimum of three years to other countries in the region.
1) Review Case Law: Analyze more than 1,000 cases on SGBV, including sexual assault and domestic violence cases, in 12 countries to illuminate the need for minimum sentencing standards in SGBV cases because cultural norms, stereotypes, and myths influence how judges sentence perpetrators, assuming they receive a custodial sentence at all. The data will: a) Illuminate the average length of sentences for sexual assault and domestic violence cases; b) Identify which sector of the judiciary is primed for judicial training and/or consultations; and c) Monitor the effectiveness of newly passed domestic violence legislation in the region
2) Develop a Regional Case Law Analyzer and train local and regional NGOs on its use: In collaboration with a technology partner, ICAAD will develop a Case Law Analyzer that will have the ability to efficiently and effectively review SGBV cases throughout the region, and will also allow for the databasing and indexing of cases by local partners into the system.
3) Conduct Four Rule of Law Trainings (ROL): Develop train the trainers tool-kits and conduct on-the-ground trainings, starting in Fiji and expanding to other countries in the region. The ROL trainings would be delivered to: a) Legal professionals; b) Magistrate judges; and c) Medico-legal professionals (medical professionals who are scrutinized during SGBV cases).
4) Disseminate of Rights-Based Literature: Distribute 750 pieces of educational literature.
1) Negotiate with courts and governments to open access to case law decisions, so that information can be properly databased, newly implemented policies can be monitored, transparency and credibility of the judiciary can be restored, and the rule of law strengthened.
2) Train local NGOs to upload, index, and analyze SGBV case law using the Case Law Analyzer.
3) Conduct four additional Rule of Law trainings.
1) Analyze case law data and, based on findings, partner with local and regional bodies to advocate for minimum sentencing standards in SGBV cases.
2) Conduct four additional Rule of Law trainings.
In the Pacific Island Countries, an average of 60% of women and girls have faced sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) based on prevalence studies using the World Health Organization (WHO) survey methodology. SGBV impacts all sectors of society, from health and safety to economics and education, and affects over five million women and girls in the region.
In 2014, after eight years of military dictatorship, Fiji will hold elections. Tolerance of violence and discrimination against women and girls by private and public actors has been pervasive during this period. Women and girls in Fiji experience intimate partner violence at a rate of 64% according to Fiji Womens Crisis Center. A professor at the University of the South Pacific School of Law calculated that the annual cost of SGBV is equal to 7% of the countrys GDP. Patriarchal beliefs have embedded gender discrimination within the very structures of society that should be providing avenues for justice, redress, and protection, rather than allowing perpetrators to escape accountability.
Now is a crucial time to reinforce how democratic values must take shape with gender equality as a fundamental part of the framework. Designing Against Discrimination is a transdisciplinary project bringing together legal professionals, technologists, and activists to combat structural failures in Fiji that perpetuate SGBV and discrimination against women.
ICAAD is seeking financial resources that will assist with the implementation of rule of law trainings, which includes the development of programs, travel, and accommodation to the Pacific region. ICAADs ability to reach judges, magistrates, attorney generals, prosecutors, and the ministries of justice, women, and health, are all predicated on having sufficient funding to conduct trainings in this region.
Additionally, submission of ICAADs ground-breaking evidence based report on gender bias in the judiciary would benefit from wide distribution in the region.-
ICAAD offers technical expertise, evidence based research, rule of law training, and programming on sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). ICAAD has developed a wide network of cross-sectoral partners working on SGBV, including law firms, universities, and technologists and can connect partners with relevant organizations from a variety of sectors.