GFN-SSR Document Library
How can violence against women and girls (VAW) be addressed more effectively in security and justice (S&J) programmes? This paper outlines how S&J programmes have addressed VAW and provides suggestions for improvement. Engagement with civil society is important; CSOs can help women to articulate their experience and can advocate for institutional and social change. A focus on prevention should complement support to victims of violence.
VAW occurs in all countries and in many countries is endemic. Women and children are disproportionately affected in conflict and post-conflict situations. Entrenched social attitudes and gender biased criminal justice systems mean that most victims have little or no recourse to justice, care or support. Moreover, the institutions which are supposed to protect citizens, such as police and armed forces, are often key perpetrators of abuse.
The extent to which S&J programmes reflect the needs of intended beneficiaries is acknowledged as a key success factor: 'people-centred' approaches produce more effective and sustainable results, which are seen as more relevant and legitimate by beneficiaries. S&J programmes which focus exclusively on the institution to be reformed without engaging the population - including women - are less likely to be successful.
Progress in one part of the security and justice sectors can be undermined by a lack of progress in another. If police improve investigation rates for crimes against women, but the rest of the criminal justice system cannot cope, this will undermine the police and public confidence. Other findings include the following:
A more detailed theory of change for how S&J programming will address violence against women needs to be articulated. In implementing an holistic, people-centred approach to S&J, it is important to recognise that local people's priorities may differ from those of national institutions, and to avoid a focus on elite (male) discourse. Further:
Source: Saferworld, 2010, 'Addressing Violence Against Women in Security and Justice Programmes: Briefing', Saferworld, London
Size: 12 pages (107 KB)