Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls

by International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD)
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Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Justice for Pacific & Caribbean Women & Girls
Samoa Train-the-Trainers program affinity mapping
Samoa Train-the-Trainers program affinity mapping

Over the last few months, we have been building on our completed virtual TrackGBV Train-the-Trainers intensive program with participants from the Ombudsman’s Office and Ministry of Justice in Samoa. The training featured the latest TrackGBV data from Samoa which can be explored in our recently launched TrackGBV Dashboard

The case law analysis shows that in Samoa between 2014 and 2020, contentious factors like gender stereotypes, customary practices, or other contentious factors were used to reduce perpetrators’ sentences in 54.8% of GBV sentencing decisions. 

Check out what one of our participants, the Director of Human Rights at Samoa’s Office of the Ombudsman/National Human Rights Institutions, Loukinikini Vili, had to say about TrackGBV and the Train-the-Trainers program:

"The training not only showed us information about the trends in sentencing decisions, but it definitely got us thinking about a lot of things. Some of them include, what was the judge thinking when they gave the decision or what type of information was provided to the judge that influenced their decision?”

“When we were analyzing some of Samoa’s gender-based violence sentencing decisions, we were also able to identify and discuss different gender biases and discrimination and how patriarchy and toxic masculinity in Samoa drive gender-based violence.”

Another participant, Faagutu Vaalotu, from the Ministry of Justice shared that, “this training has refreshed my thinking about ways to improve the way we work. I think there’s a lot of areas we need to look closely at.” 

Vaalotu explained that TrackGBV fills some of the gaps they have from not having an integrated electronic case management system. She adds, “We have the challenge of not having an integrated electronic case management system. With the case analysis from TrackGBV, that really puts the alarming picture of what’s happening out there. That sort of approach is very effective in driving this message, especially if it’s the judiciary that’s handing down the decisions.”

We have been working with the cohort to plan this year’s advocacy strategy for judicial policy reform as well as more trainings for other stakeholders. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue sharing the TrackGBV Dashboard with stakeholders around the Pacific region.

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Join us for the public launch of the TrackGBV Dashboard in the Pacific on Monday, November 29 at 6pm (ET). We'll be walking through the Dashboard and hearing from leading gender justice advocates about what TrackGBV has accomplished and where we’re headed. This has been years in the making, and we can’t wait to share it with you! Register here

ICAAD has been analyzing thousands of GBV sentencing decisions in the Pacific with our pro bono partners to track gender bias and discrimination; for example, gender stereotypes, customary practices, and other contentious factors that are used to reduce or suspend sentences. With that data, the goal of the TrackGBV program is to monitor accountability to support data-driven improvements through legal advocacy and training with the goal of removing gender discrimination from judicial decision making. 

We have now reviewed over 3,500 cases, and the analysis for each jurisdiction will be available in the TrackGBV Dashboard, so CSOs, lawyers, and judiciaries can make use of the data in real-time. Our Pacific partners are already strategizing about implementing the Dashboard in their advocacy and training efforts. 

We’ll be hearing from some amazing gender justice advocates too, including: 

  • Justice Jacqueline Cornelius, High Court Judge, Barbados
  • Loukinikini Vili, Director of Human Rights, Samoa Office of the Ombudsman/ NHRI
  • Teresa Lifuka-Drecala, Executive Director, Tuvalu Family Health Association (TuFHA)
  • Laisa Bulatale, Gender and Transitional Justice Programme, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM)

We can’t wait to see you there! You can also share the event on Facebook

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Over the past six months, in addition to creating partnerships and conducting the research necessary to scale the TrackGBV program to the Caribbean, we’ve been working on a training program for TrackGBV. We’re very excited to share that this month, we’ll begin our TrackGBV Train-the-Trainers program in Samoa with representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry for Women, Community, and Social Development, and the Office of the Ombudsman and Samoa's National Human Rights Institution. We’ll be meeting virtually for seven weeks to prepare the cohort to train other key stakeholders in Samoa. 

We’re also thrilled to share that GlobalGiving’s Project of the Month Club selected TrackGBV from a pool of more than 5,000 nonprofit projects in 170+ countries as their Project of the Month. The program will award $10,000 to ICAAD, and over the next 11 months, we will receive an additional portion of funds the Club raises. We also received a grant from the Airbnb + GlobalGiving Community Fund. The program invited Airbnb hosts to help decide how to distribute the Community Fund to GlobalGiving projects, and TrackGBV was one of their picks. 

Dashboard Launch 

We will also be launching the TrackGBV Dashboard on Thursday, November 25th which is the first day of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. We currently have 20 years of case law analysis for Samoa, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea in the dashboard and will be uploading the profiles for Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu over the next two months. We are also connecting with advocates across the region who will be using the Dashboard including: 

  • Fiji Women’s Rights Movement; 
  • Tuvalu Family Health Association; 
  • Aia Maea Ainen Kiribati; 
  • the Samoa Victim Support Group; and 
  • several other CSOs and quasi-governmental groups in the region. 

The TrackGBV Dashboard will be used by women’s rights advocates and judiciaries to understand gender discrimination and other variables like victim anonymity and the use of medical reports in GBV sentencing decisions. Over the past few months, we have been getting feedback from key stakeholders to refine the Dashboard to better serve advocates pushing for change. 

Stay tuned for an invitation to our virtual launch event on November 25th!

 

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Over the next three months, we will be adding several countries to our TrackGBV Data Dashboard for the Pacific Islands. Thanks to your support, we have been able to develop TrackGBV and analyze gender bias and discrimination in over 5,000 sentencing decisions in the region. Now, it’s time for us to scale. 

Over the last few years, we have been exploring the possibility of scaling TrackGBV to Latin America and the Caribbean. We have spoken with stakeholders in Chile, Belize, Barbados, Jamaica, and Grenada. As we have begun to share our work with local human rights and women’s rights organizations, our work has garnered the interest of the UN Women’s regional Caribbean office. They have long recognized the need for judicial reform to improve access to justice for women and girls, and our preliminary conversations suggest we will be strong partners in the movement for gender justice.  We recently applied for their call for proposals, which focuses on:

Grenada

Implementing culture-based approaches to deliver messaging targeting the judiciary and their treatment of victims or perpetrators in the administration of justice for family violence related crimes and incidents. Understanding the challenges in the application of sentencing guidelines and how this also leads to the need for second prevention interventions.

Jamaica

Strengthening and expanding gender-responsive administration of justice through law enforcement and the judiciary to improve capacity to investigate and prosecute cases of violence against women and girls, including family violence, and to enforce court orders in a sensitive and timely manner. Additionally, to focus on research looking at court user experience with family violence (intimate partner violence especially protection order application, and child abuse).

Regardless of whether or not we are selected, we will be expanding TrackGBV to the Caribbean as a result of your support. By working to build the capacity of the judiciary, we aim to create an environment where the future analysis of GBV decisions is not constrained by resource limitations.  We will continue this critical work of ensuring that the judiciary is a place where victims/ survivors are not retraumatized, where their testimony is not minimized, and where justice and accountability can be achieved. 

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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
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Organization Information

International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD)

Location: Chappaqua, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ICAADglobal
Project Leader:
Hansdeep Singh
Co-Founder, Director of Legal Programmes
Chappaqua, NY United States
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