Promoting Access to Justice for Women & Girls
Advocacy & Reform
12 Pacific Island Countries:
Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Kiribati, Nauru, and Palau
Equality Justice Alliance Group of Experts Meeting, Singapore
In the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) it is imperative to increase transparency, consistency, and accountability within the justice system.
When women and children in PICs access the formal justice system in GBV cases, perpetrators can receive disproportionately low sentences or no custodial sentence at all for domestic violence and sexual offenses. The evidence shows the driving force behind this problem is gender discrimination, which includes: stereotypes, rape myths, and customary reconciliation.
TrackGBV is an initiative aimed at removing gender bias and discrimination from judicial decision making through innovative technology to monitor accountability, training, and legislative and judicial policy reform. The early phases of this groundbreaking initiative identified a regional trend of gender bias negatively influencing how judges sentenced offenders in domestic violence and sexual offence cases in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). ICAAD aims to: 1) create a transparent environment for sentencing that is proportional to the severity of the crime; 2) remove gender bias from judicial decision making; 3) empower women to see courts as a viable forum for redress; 4) foster the use of empirical evidence and technologies by local stakeholders to push for reform; and 5) advocate for legislation and policy that reflects how cultural norms, bias, and stereotypes affect gender equity.
“I think that the kind of interventions that are being designed by ICAAD are greatly needed. Its something that we don’t have happening in Fiji…I think that [the interventions] will help to break down the culture of impunity that we have around women accessing justice.”
– Roshika Deo, International Woman of Courage Awardee and Fijian Human Rights Advocate
- Solomon Islands amended sexual offense legislation
- Fijian judiciary issued practice directives for Magistrates that were co-drafted with ICAAD
- Case law analysis methodology adopted by local non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
- Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative integrated findings into their toolkits for judicial training