Outcome 2: Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

Women and girls have increased access to justice in cases of domestic violence.

Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive violation of human rights in the Pacific. As such, a significant part of RRRT’s work, historically and going forward, is realising meaningful change towards the elimination of violence against women.

RRRT has been a primary support to PICs in drafting and advocating for legislative change for survivors of violence. RRRT is now focused on the implementation of the legislation and supporting the increased access to justice for women and girl survivors of violence. This is occurring through advocating for the full implementation of domestic violence/family protection (DV/FP) legislation, strengthening the capacity of justice service providers around their responsibilities, and increasing women and girls’ knowledge and agency to access justice through the support of community paralegals/human rights advocates. RRRT is also drawing on its work in other domains to mobilise change in community attitudes on VAW, and promote improved compliance by PICs who have ratified CEDAW.

MACRO: Develop & implement legislatio. Establish services. MEZZO: Build judicial & social service capacity. MICRO: Empower women. Raiser community awareness.

RRRT’s support in this area is multi-faceted, aiming to influence the macro, mezzo and micro levels:

Macro

Supporting PIC government to develop domestic violence/family protection (DV/FP) legislation and implementation plans, and establish essential services;

Mezzo

Building capacity of institutions and service providers in a gender-responsive interpretation and application of the Acts;

Micro

Raising awareness among women, communities and keys around the rights of survivors of violence; and changing attitudes that condone violence.

Key development partners are DFAT/Pacific Women, UN Women, women’s divisions, Ministries of Justice and national civil society EVAW service providers.  Funding for this Outcome Area is provided by the Australian Government through the DFAT regional programme and the Solomon Islands programme, the Swedish Government through SIDA and the United Nations Global Trust Fund to End Violence.

Result 2.1

More Pacific Island Countries are implementing, resourcing and monitoring Domestic Violence/Family Protection legislation

Result 2.2

Justice service providers understand their obligations under family violence legislation and are more responsive to the needs of women and girls

Result 2.3

Women have increased knowledge and agency to access justice for domestic violence survivors

RRRT and members of the Niuean Government, Alofi 2016

Historically, RRRT has been significantly involved in the passage of family protection legislation with drafting options drawn up for five countries and support to governments to enact these laws in Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu. In 2016, RRRT supported both Nauru and Niue in the development of their family protection legislation. Nauru passed its Family Protection Act in 2017 and RRRT is providing ongoing support to the Government of Nauru for the development of its Implementation Plan thus moving from “Act” to action. Insert legislative reform diagram

A 2016 external evaluation found RRRT’s support and commitment to legislative drafting to be highly effective, and recommended a continuation towards the implementation of these laws.

While the passage of DV/FP legislation passed is a good milestone for PICs, the provisions of laws that support survivors of violence will only have an impact once the laws are implemented by all service providers from law enforcement to judiciary, to medical staff and social services. RRRT works with governments and service providers to understand both their responsibilities in new legislation, and to develop, implement and monitor legislation implementation plans. Implementation Plans provide a map of action for implementation of all provisions in the Act.

Key RRRT activities in Pacific Island countries include technical assistance and training in:

  • The drafting of legislation; 
  • Provide feedback into draft legislation that have been developed by the countries; and
  • The implementation of legislation through the development of implementation workplans.

Progress against our targets: 

Result 2.1: More Pacific Island Countries are implementing, resourcing and monitoring Domestic Violence/Family Protection legislation

Number of Pacific Island Countries with evidence that justice and other services set out under legislation are available and resourced

0

0

Number of Pacific Island Countries with comprehensive Domestic Violence/Family Protection legislation

13

13

Number of Pacific Island Countries demonstrating a planned approach to Domestic Violence/Family Protection legislation

7

7

Number of government officials and service providers receiving technical assistance in Domestic Violence/Family Protection legislation implementation

380

429

Significant positive change.
On track to surpassing targets.

RRRT staff member with the Pohnpei Chief of Police, FSM 2018

Recent studies, like UN Women’s Women and Children’s Access to the Formal Justice System in Vanuatu, illustrate that the vast majority of women and girls do not have access to the formal justice system in cases of domestic violence; and access is even more limited for women and children with disabilities or for those living in rural areas. The experiences of women/girls in other Pacific Island Countries suggest that access to justice is a regional issue.

One of the barriers to accessing justice is harmful attitudes from within the justice system towards survivors of domestic violence. RRRT works with magistrates, authorised justices, judges, prosecutors and police prosecutors to increase their knowledge about the causes of gender-based violence and their understanding of their role in protecting survivors, as set out in legislation.

This capacity development programme addresses challenges that the judiciary has faced in the implementation of the legislation. It also seeks to shift harmful social norms and beliefs that influence judicial rulings and prevent or discourage women from seeking justice through formal systems.

Key RRRT activities in Pacific Island countries include technical assistance and training in:

  • Raising awareness of legislation and the specific roles of duty bearers; and
  • Gender-based violence, gender equality and the root causes of domestic violence.

Progress against our targets: 

Result 2.2 Justice service providers understand their obligations under family violence legislation and are more responsive to the needs of women and girls. 

Number of protection orders issues in targeted PICs

198

303

Number of PICs with evidence of judiciary demonstrating changing attitudes towards violence against women

0

3

Number of PICs with endorsed tools on gender-sensitive application of Acts

5

5

Number of justice service providers receiving technical assistance from RRRT

292

334

Significant positive change.
On track to surpassing targets.

Community Facilitators, Guadalcanal Province, 2018

While one of the barriers for women in accessing justice is harmful attitudes from within the justice system towards survivors of domestic violence, in order for women to access protections that are provided for in legislation, their agency or their ability must be built. RRRT achieves this by supporting community members or champions to carry out important outreach work and be able to refer women to the relevant services.

This approach builds on RRRT’s previous experience in training over 300 community paralegals between 2005 and 2009, the impact of which is still felt today in a number of countries, especially in outer island and rural communities (RRRT Independent Evaluation, Vanuatu 2016).

RRRT’s former Community Paralegal Training (CPT) programme was shared by stakeholders in several countries as a strong example of the transformative approach, and RRRT’s legacy of empowering people to take action on human rights. (Independent Evaluation, 2016, p.37).

The community paralegal training shaped our destiny. Our empowerment really came from them… I could speak with confidence. Gender equality, child rights… It built our capacity and it has never left us. It has stuck by us. It is the one organisation that has got it right (Independent Evaluation, 2016, p.34).

Building on the findings of the 2016 evaluation and RRRT stakeholder consultations, RRRT continues to invest energies at the community level to train, network, mentor and support community-based human rights advocates to promote human rights, elimination of violence against women, and inclusive and safe communities.

Human rights advocates will be:

  • Empowering communities with knowledge and skills to claim their rights and take action for positive social change; and
  • Supporting survivors of domestic violence, as first responders and improving access to justice and support services. RRRT will mentor human rights advocates to build their leadership skills and voice for social change. The process will also foster local networks of human rights advocates who can articulate current and emerging human rights issues in their communities, encourage social action on key issues such as violence against women and draw on their collective strength to support governments in creating an environment conducive to the realisation of human rights. The expected outcome is to close the gap between de jure human rights (i.e. legal standards in place) and de facto human rights (i.e. rights enjoyed in reality). A unique aspect of the programme is the provision of quality training and ongoing mentoring to rural emerging leadership often passed over by other agencies. Participants will be drawn from community leaders, NGO activists and rural-based government officials. Programme graduates will also able to conduct education programmes to enable disadvantaged people and communities to become aware of, advocate for and exercise their rights. Graduates will be mentored by CFOs in-country. Drawing lessons from RRRT’s earlier human rights advocates programme, a networked approach using face-to-face and social media platforms will be taken, giving greater sustainability.

 

Key RRRT activities in Pacific Island countries include:

Progress against our targets: 

Result 2.3 Women have increased knowledge and agency to access justice for domestic violence survivors

Number of PICs with women having increased knowledge, attitude and agency to access justice

1

2

Number of community facilitators established and trained

43

43

Number of people educated by RRRT on domestic violence/family protection legislation

4965

6307

Significant positive change.
On track to surpassing targets.

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