Monitoring the criminal justice system

Of men who commit rape, over 70% experience no legal sanction

According to a 2013 UN study in Asia and the Pacific on men and violence, 1 in every 2 men who have had a female partner admits to perpetrating partner violence. And 1 in every 4 men admits to having raped a woman or girl. Of men who admitted to rape, the vast majority – a staggering 72% to 97% – experienced no legal sanction.

The current global reality is that States are failing to develop coherent and sustainable solutions to tackle violence against women. These stark statistics demonstrate the failure of state criminal justice responses and confirm that impunity is the norm.

The result is that millions of women worldwide are unable to obtain justice and states continue to send a message to society that violence against women is acceptable – and inevitable.

How can we break this vicious circle?

Progress in the development of international legal standards on violence against women has not been accompanied by comparable progress in their implementation at the national level. To break the vicious cycle of impunity for perpetrators, we need to be able to assess and monitor state implementation and responses to laws on violence against women. We need a mechanism to:

Monitor police investigations, prosecutions and courts in their response to cases of violence against women;
Make systemic failings in a state’s criminal justice system transparent through public reporting;
Provide data and evidence to support findings and highlight patterns and trends.

Without such a mechanism, it will continue to be impossible to hold States accountable on a systematic basis and hard to make laws on violence against women real in practice.

The Sisters for Change Criminal Justice Monitoring Model

Sisters For Change is designing a Criminal Justice Monitoring Model to address this need. The model will hold domestic criminal justice bodies – targeting in particular police, prosecutors, courts – accountable through public reporting on their compliance with domestic laws and international human rights obligations, and will stimulate public debate on the adequacy of State action to eliminate violence against women.

Sisters For Change will launch this new monitoring model in three field pilots in Bangalore, India; Yogyakarta, Indonesia; and London, UK in 2014-2015. The pilots will be implemented in partnership with grassroots women’s rights organisations in each country to build capacity and stimulate positive social change at the community level.

The selection of India and Indonesia for the pilots reflects statistical evidence that the highest levels of violence against women occurs in South and South East Asia, as well in-country research testifying to the failure by criminal justice bodies to implement domestic laws on rape and domestic violence. The selection of London as the third pilot reflects recent high profile legal cases and oversight reports evidencing inadequate police responses to violence against women.

A tool to achieve global state accountability for violence against women

Our vision is to refine our model through three pilots in 2014-2015 and then to roll-out the model on a wider scale, working with grassroots partners across India, Indonesia and other countries in Asia and worldwide.

We believe that a dynamic monitoring framework for violence against women, which identifies gaps and failures in implementation of domestic laws and legal standards on violence against women and highlights inadequate criminal justice responses to such violence, can be replicated globally to hold states to account for their obligations to eliminate violence against women and girls.

To realise our ambition and aims, we need your help. Please support us today and be part of a global movement for social change and justice.