FWRM, Balancing the Scales, p. 76
Over the past 5 years, ICAAD has advanced data-driven education about gender bias and how it is perpetuated within existing societal structures, such as the informal and formal justice sector.
More recently, our methodology has been increasingly adopted to advance the work of local and regional institutions, such as the Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM) and the Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative (PJSI), an initiative of the Federal Courts of Australia.
PJSI suggested using ICAAD’s data as a baseline for further assessments in its Gender and Family Violence Toolkit. In its Human Rights Toolkit, PJSI states that ICAAD’s “study shows how values that undermine women’s right to equal protection of the law can also be ingrained in judicial thinking, suggesting that this might be an area where specific judicial training and guidance could be helpful.”
In its report, Balancing the Scales: Improving Fijian Women's Access to Justice, FWRM adapted ICAAD’s methodology to review rape and sexual assault judgments in the High Court and Magistrate Courts for 2016 and 2017. The aim of FWRM’s report is to “further inform law reform in this area and improve women and children’s access to the formal justice system.”
This year, in February, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights’ comments largely focused on topics ICAAD raised in a CEDAW report drafted on behalf of a coalition of local NGOs. The High Commissioner addressed: climate change and its particular impact on women, that “the high rate of violence against women remains one of the biggest human rights problems,” and the systemic nature of gender based violence, which “is a result of the power imbalance within homes, society at large as well as in State institutions.”
In the following months, we’ll be launching the first ever Sentencing Handbook on gender based violence for the Pacific Region. This Handbook will inform the analysis that underpins the TrackGBV database, where lawyers will analyze 5,000 cases and provide data from across 12 countries in the Pacific to promote judicial transparency and accountability.
None of this happens without your continued support!