Feb 17, 2021

TrackGBV Updates

TrackGBV data presented at the workshop in Fiji
TrackGBV data presented at the workshop in Fiji

Dashboard Testing

Over the past month, we began beta testing our data analytics dashboard, which will soon be publicly available and populated with data from over 5,000 GBV cases from 12 Pacific countries. At the moment, we are conducting user research and iterating the design and features with our team and partner organizations, to ensure advocates are able to benefit from using data in their efforts for gender equity and access to justice. 

 

TrackGBV at the Fiji Women’s Law Association Continuing Legal Education Workshop 

On February 10th, we presented virtually at a panel workshop run by the Fiji Women’s Law Association and Fiji Women’s Rights Movement on gender stereotypes in sexual offence cases. The discussion focused on some of the persistent challenges in gender-based violence (GBV) cases in Fijian courts including victim-blaming and judicial stereotyping as well as the progress made to date. We shared our latest TrackGBV data for Fiji including the prevalence of contentious factors like gender stereotypes in cases and change over time.

Looking at Fiji, we see major strides taken over the last decade or so including new legislation in 2009, directives aimed at improving equity in GBV cases in 2018, and judicial training. Fiji also makes publicly available the highest percentage of case law related to GBV in the region which is a great first step towards transparency and accountability. For the TrackGBV program, this means that we were able to analyze 809 GBV cases from the magistrate courts, High Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Appeals, from 2000-2018.

To see the latest data from Fiji, check out our Comparative Report on the Impact of Gender Stereotyping on Judicial Decisions in Violence Against Women Cases Across the Pacific Islands Region

 

Preliminary Samoa Data

As we’ve shared before, we will be running our Train the Trainers program with the Samoa Ministry of Justice later this year. As a part of this training, we are collating the data from 282 gender-based violence cases from Samoa over the period of 2000-2020. This week, we completed pieces of the preliminary analysis which we can share here. This type of data will soon be available for all 12 Pacific countries on our data analytics dashboard.

First-time Offender Status

We found a higher rate of the inappropriate use of first-time offender status where credible testimony, medical evidence, or police reports indicated past evidence of violence, even if there was no previous conviction. In cases between 2000-2012, first-time offender status was misapplied in 13.9% of cases, and between 2013-2020, it was misapplied in 20% of cases. 

Medical Reports

The importance of medical reports in GBV cases cannot be understated and goes directly to preserving evidence of the severity of a crime, which would likely influence sentencing outcomes. Medical reports were only used in 32.3% of cases overall, and only 28.9% of sexual violence cases. 

While we have yet to compile the data on contentious factors which point to gender bias and discrimination, the preliminary data indicates that there will be much to share with the Samoa Ministry of Justice to improve accountability and access to justice. 

FWLA Continuing Legal Education Workshop, Feb 10
FWLA Continuing Legal Education Workshop, Feb 10
Nov 5, 2020

Digging into Dignity & New CJ Project Mentors

Climate-induced Migration & Life with Dignity 

In our last update, we shared about our growing multidisciplinary team. Our research has focused on the understanding of dignity in international law. We recently partnered with global law firm King Wood & Mallesons to expand this legal research to look at specific countries in each continent to better understand variability in defining this term. Additionally, in the next few months, we will be launching virtual convenings with Indigenous climate activists to co-design legal frameworks that best protect communities on the frontlines. Our climate science and artificial intelligence experts have been exploring predictive modeling from the California wildfires and wider U.S. climate impacts to consider how we can apply a human rights lens. 

Last month, we were also invited to present at the International Development Young Professionals TedX-style Talks event to share about the project. Watch the short talk here.

Youth + Climate Justice Project Mentors

With the Micronesia Climate Change Alliance (MCCA), we have been developing the curriculum for our virtual climate justice and human rights training program and specifically exploring the intersection of militarization, human rights, and climate change. MCCA has also brought on 10 project mentors from across the Micronesian region to help us develop the program and to eventually connect with participants and help them with their micro-projects. Project mentors will provide valuable insights and be additional support in the community for the young leaders in the program.

Oct 21, 2020

TrackGBV Update

Barbados Supreme Court
Barbados Supreme Court

Expanding TrackGBV

In our last update we discussed expanding a partnership with civil society organizations in Latin America and Caribbean. Recently, we partnered with the Women and Development Unit (WAND) of the University of the West Indies to begin a pilot analysis of TrackGBV in Barbados. This will include the review of 60-100 domestic and sexual violence cases. In a 2009 Report, 21% of murders in Barbados were a result of domestic violence and this increased to 33% of all homicides in 2013. Furthermore, an OEA Barbados Country Report from 2017 identified that extrajudicial (outside of the courts) settlements were taking place and removing the ability of the courts to hold perpetrators accountable. If successful, this pilot would expand to looking at cases over a larger time frame (1-2 decades) to identify trends and efficacy of legislation meant to curtail GBV.

Train the Trainers Program

Due to Covid, our ability to conduct in-person training for the Samoa Ministry of Justice has been hampered. Nevertheless, we have continued in the development of our Train the Trainers program and are now looking at the potential to institutionalize our training with local civil society, like the Samoa Victim Support Group. This would allow us to both build the capacity of a local civil society organization that deals directly with survivors, and also have the benefit of them conducting in-person training with the Ministry of Justice. In these times it is important for organizations to stay nimble and adaptable. Though the training will be delayed till next year, we believe this will ultimately be a stronger outcome.

Samoa & Tonga Case Law Analysis

As part of the training program discussed above, our law firm partners will soon commence an analysis of 400+ cases coming from Samoa and Tonga. The data analysis that comes from the Samoan cases will be included in the training for the Samoa Ministry of Justice, but will also help to build out a Data Dashboard for Advocates that we discussed in the last report. We hope to present the outcomes of this analysis by year’s end. Furthermore, we continue to obtain case law from other Pacific Island jurisdictions, like Palau, Nauru, and Tuvalu, where the number of cases we are able to access is minimal. 

 
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