End Violence Group

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End Violence Group

Source: end-violence(AT)edc-cit.org

  Training program for health workers in Kenya
NEW PROJECTS FOR UNIFEM'S ANTI-VIOLENCE TRUST FUND
Swedish legislation on violence against women
Testimony on trafficking in Europe
End Violence Training Program
What ESSENTIAL actions must be taken?
Number of important steps that must be taken: The UNIFEM Task Force

+++++++++++++++++++

Training program for health workers in Kenya

From: Shereen Usdin
13/08/99

Dear Jane and Angellina (and members of the list-server),

Soul City, a South African NGO using media to address health and development issues is currently producing material on violence against women. These include a prime time television and radio drama which challenges negative attitudes, stimulates debate and informs the public on the rights of women. An easy to read information book is distributed at the same time as we are broadcasting on air.

We are also beginning to develop life skills curriculum material on gender-based violence, adapting the mass media material. Is your work in Africa involving curricula for schools or for health workers. It was unclear from your email. Either way, I support Tanya's email (see below) to share ideas. It sounds like we could learn from what you are doing. We are also working with Tanya on Health worker training.

If anyone on the list-server would like more information on Soul City's work, please visit our web site at www.soulcity.org.za

Best Wishes,

Dr. Shereen Usdin
Project Manager: Soul City Series

++++++++++++++++

What ESSENTIAL actions must be taken?
From: Linda Light
12/08/99

Hello all.

It seems to me that there are two primary routes we must take, and both are equally important: 1) we must deal effectively with the abuse that is already going on, and 2) we must put in place measures that will stop the abuse from happening in the future. A third emphasis, to make these both work, would be a coordinated approach.

So, the essentials would seem to me to be:

for 1) adequate (not necessarily state-of-the-art) laws and justice system policies must be in place, including effective linkages between national justice systems and traditional systems; police, prosecutors and judges/magistrates must be trained to effectively enforce laws, prosecute cases and make appropriate judgements in cases of violence against women; and the corrections system must be able to manage offenders effectively (and humanely).

for 2) there must be effective public education programs and schools-based programs to define violence against women as a crime and as socially unacceptable; help people understand the root causes of violence against women, with particular emphasis on gender equality; and provide compelling alternative models for gender relations and conflict resolution.

for 3) Coordination is so important that it needs to be identified as a third emphasis. The justice system cannot enforce laws unless they are aware that a crime has taken place, for example. Often victims will come into health clinics or hospitals and unless the two systems are working together, those cases will not be brought forward to the justice system. Furthermore, victims require a great deal of support to take on the enormous and frightening task of becoming a witness in court. The justice system cannot provide that support on its own. The social service system, advocates, NGO's, the health care system, the education system all have very important roles to play in educating and supporting vicitms as they make their way through the justice process.

A strong argument can be made for tangibly supporting coordination because it can help scarce resources go further by maximising use of existing resources and avoiding duplication of efforts.

Our experience in British Columbia is that local coordinating committees can be powerful tools for raising community and professional awareness of these issues; building trust among services providers, advocates and systems; addressing barriers to effective responses to violence; and coming up with innovative solutions and initiatives to make real changes in their communities, often with little or no new funding.

I realize that this three-pronged approach still presents a huge task, but at least it narrows it down to three major thrusts: enforcement, prevention, and coordination. If those three areas are prioritised, and efforts are assessed in terms of these three priority goals, I believe that we could make real progress in stopping violence against women.

Linda Light Victim Services Division
Ministry of Attorney General
Province of BC
CANADA
+++++++++++++++++++

Dear Members of End-Violence,

As ever, the members of this Working Group have provided extremely valuable insights and "lessons from experience." During the past weeks you have identified a number of important steps that must be taken:

* Conduct a multi-pronged strategy that includes law reform as well the use of existing laws to protect women, educate the public, provide training and create pressure for law reform
* Advocate for gender violence to be placed on national health agendas
* Monitor the extent to which courts are implementing legislation that protects women from violence
* Create a database of legislation from various countries in order to provide those addressing law reform with ideas for new laws and revisions of laws
* Develop concrete data that can be produced and reported, thereby making it difficult for legislators to dismiss violence against women, including domestic violence, as "just part of our culture"

All too often, governments and others claim that there are too many demands for action and they can't do them all. As a result, they do nothing. Thus, it is important that we narrow our demands to the CORE, ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL actions that MUST be taken.

Now we would like to ask you a most difficult question:

Of the actions mentioned above (or any others), which are the CORE, ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL actions that MUST be taken by governments, community organizations, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, commercial enterprises, or others?

We look forward to hearing your views on this crucial issue, so that we can take them to the UN in their Special Session.

With thanks and warm regards,

The UNIFEM Task Force

+++++++++++++++++++

NEW PROJECTS FOR UNIFEM'S 
ANTI-VIOLENCE TRUST FUND

9/08/99


The Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women, established in 1996, has selected 16 new projects to support in its fourth grant cycle. This brings the total number of projects supported by the Trust Fund to 87. UN organizations participating in the Project Approval Committee included UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, Centre for International Crime Prevention, WHO, OHCHR, DAW, and UNDP.

A sampling of projects selected follows:

The Network of Zimbabwean Positive Women, a group of HIV positive activists, will work at the community level to fight discrimination against women who have contracted the AIDS virus.

The Department of Preventative and Social Medicine at the University of Ibadan will conduct research and initiate an advocacy campaign to prevent violence against young Nigerian girls in urban areas.

SAATHI, in Nepal, will teach youth to become agents of change by holding training workshops on violence against women at universities and youth camps.

Isis International-Manila will review the implementation of the media section of the Beijing Platform of Action to develop a gender-sensitive code of conduct for print and broadcast journalists.

The Washington Office on Latin America will implement a year-long training project on advocacy skills for leaders of women's organizations working to eradicate violence against women in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

The Pinelands Creative Workshop will combine art, music, dance and poetry to raise community awareness of gender-based violence in Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago. Performances will be followed by discussions with audiences on violence prevention.

The Humanitarian Association for the Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women in Macedonia will unite government representatives, lawyers, journalists and local and international women's rights activists to draft new laws and policies and organize a mass lobbying effort to ensure that legislation is operationalized.

The Gender Project for Bulgaria Foundation will launch a full-fledged media and educational campaign on gender-based violence by advocating through popular television and radio programs, and mobilizing a nation-wide NGO forum.

The Housing Rights and Eviction organization will conduct an action-oriented research project on violence against women as a result of forced eviction, and establish an electronic list-serve with information on the issue from around the world.

For more information, please contact Mika Ichihara

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Swedish legislation on violence against women
6/08/99
Janice Brodman in her reflection to Dianne Post's contribution July 30 took up the issue, whether we should also try to make more effective use of existing laws rather than try to change the actual laws or enact new ones.

I think we should do both and in addition to inform about progressive laws in different countries, which could give ideas for new laws and revisions of laws in other countries.

Through an other web list I have just read about a new law in Japan to go into effect on November 1, 1999 making illegal for Japanese men to buy prostitution in Japan or anyhere in the world.

Since I don't know, whether the new law from last year in Sweden has been presented in this list I would like to draw your attention to it. This law introduces a whole new Chapter into the Penal Code of Sweden and covers all various kinds of violations against women. The law itself entered into force on July 1 1998, and the prohibition on the purchase of sexual services on January 1, 1999. Since then they have already got some experience about the effect of this act.

The Swedish Government's extensive Fact Sheet is to be found in Web: < www.kvinnofrid.gov.se/regeringen/faktaeng.htm>

Here I quote just a short passage of the introduction and the list of subtitles showing the different aspects of the law:

"New and more rigorous legislation

Gross violation of a woman's integrity - a new offence

A new offence is to be introduced into the Penal Code. Its purpose is to deal with repeated punishable acts directed by men against women having a close relationship with the perpetrator (gross violation of a woman's integrity), but also covers children and other closely related persons (gross violation of integrity).

In short, gross violation of a woman's integrity, means the following. If a man commits certain criminal acts (assault, unlawful threat or coersion, sexual or other molestation, sexual exploitation, etc) against a woman to whom he is or has been married or with whom he is or has been cohabiting, he shall be sentenced for gross violation of the woman's integrity, instead of for the crime that each of the acts comprise. A necessary condition for sentencing for the new offence is that the acts were part of a repeated violation of the woman's integrity and were suited to seriously damage her self-confidence. The punishment is imprisonment for at least six months and at most six years.

Thereby, the new crime makes it possible for the courts to increase the penal value of the above mentioned acts, in situations where they are part of a process which constitutes a violation of integrity, which is often the case with domestic violence. It will thus also be possible, in a better way than with present legislation, to take the entire situation of the abused woman into account. The new crime does not exclude that the perpetrator simultaneously can be indicted for, for instance, aggravated assault or rape.

The crime gross violation of a person's integrity can be used in situations equivalent to the ones above mentioned. However, under this crime falls repeated violations directed against children or other closely related persons (such as parents and siblings to the perpetrator). The punishment is the same."

The new law covers the following areas of legislation:
Definition of rape to be widened
Neglecting to report certain sexual crimes to be made punishable
Prohibition on the purchase of sexual services

+++++++++++++++++++

Testimony on trafficking in Europe
26/07/99

[***Moderator's Note: Below you will find a testimony for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on trafficking in the OSCE region, and possible remedies/strategies. Although it is a bit long, we thought End-Violence members would find it interesting because it offers additional information about strategies against trafficking, a discussion we had on the Working Group in February and March 1999.***]

Sources:
W.E. A.R.E. for Human Rights' Int'l Women's Advocacy News Service
>From the Stop-traffick listserv:
From: Steven Russell Galster

TESTIMONY
by Steven R. Galster Director of
GLOBAL SURVIVAL NETWORK
BEFORE THE COMMISSION ON SECURITY & COOPERATION IN EUROPE
6/28/99

Thank you, Chairman, and other members of this Commission, for inviting me here today to speak briefly about the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation in CSCE states. I have been asked by your commission to share my perspectives on this issue, as well as my views on how the United States Government can best assist in the fight to eliminate the trafficking of women and children in the CSCE region.

The organization that I direct, Global Survival Network (GSN), has conducted in depth field research into this issue since 1995. Much of our research has focused on the former Soviet Union and Europe, and more recently, parts of Asia and the United States. Our most recent investigation into human trafficking on Saipan, a US territory, was profiled on ABC television's 20/20 several weeks ago.

First a word about GSN's approach to this issue and our research methodology. GSN initially viewed the trafficking of women and girls for forced prostitution in its own special category that required its own special attention. However, our own investigations into human trafficking operations revealed that the victims of sexual trafficking, sweatshop labor, domestic servitude, and other forms of forced labor, are all victims of the same kinds of labor and human rights abuses. The mechanisms of trafficking and the forms of abuse are quite similar. We even discovered some networks that trafficked women for sexual slavery, while trafficking men for other forms of forced labor, using the same channels and methods. I am not saying that being sold into sexual slavery is the same thing as being sold into a sweatshop. I AM saying that the victims in both cases are slaves; the traffickers are, in both cases, violating existing labor and human rights laws and treaties; and the traffickers are in both cases inflicting deplorable psychological and physical abuse.

In 1995, GSN launched a trafficking related investigation, which lasted 2 years and took us to numerous countries, including China, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Macau, Canada, and the United States. Our focus was on the trafficking of women and girls from the former Soviet Union (NIS) for forced prostitution. We established a US-based dummy company that purportedly specialized in importing foreign women as escorts and entertainers to the United States. Under the guise of this company, GSN successfully gained entree to the operations of a number of international trafficking networks based in Russia and beyond.

I will summarize what I saw during our investigation and what we concluded in our report, as it relates today to your focus on trafficking.

First, however, let me clarify that the definition we use for "trafficking," -- again based on what we have seen in our research-- includes the use of deception, coercion (including the use or threat of force or abuse of authority) or debt bondage, or all of the above. Often the word "trafficking" is used to describe a situation when an independent woman pays someone to help get her from one country to another where she can find work as a sex worker, while controlling her own movements and earnings. That is not trafficking, in our view; that is facilitated migration.

This relates to my first observation:

1. We found 4 types of women and girls involved in the sex trade, many were victims of sexual slavery, some were not:

first type: those who had been completely duped and coerced into being sex workers. These women/girls expected to perform some other line of work. Many of them came from rural areas, and I noticed many from Ukraine;

second type: those who were told half-truths by their recruiters about their employment. For example, they may have been told they would have to dance and strip for clients, but not that they would be expected to perform extra services (like having some form of sex with the client), and/or that the sums of money they were promised were completely fictitious. In most cases, these women experienced little to no freedom of movement outside of work because they had been put in debt bondage circumstances and were not allowed to keep their own passport.

third type: those who were adequately informed of the type of work they would be performing, did not want to do it, saw no viable economic alternative, and therefore knowingly relinquished control to their trafficker who exploited their economic and legal situation for financial gain, while maintaining the women in debt bondage situations as described above; and finally,

fourth type: there were those women who were adequately informed of the type of work they would be performing, were not uncomfortable performing it, and were in control of their finances and had relatively good freedom of movement. Under the definition of trafficking that I cited above, this type of woman would not have been trafficked.

2. Recruitment Practices were nearly uniform for women in the first 3 categories:

- Those who were completely duped and/or coerced had responded to public ads or word of mouth offers to work abroad as waitresses, au pairs, entertainers, and the like. Behind the newspaper ads, or word of mouth offers, is usually a small to medium size company, which is often not legally registered, run by as few as 2 people who, through their local and international contacts, arrange visas and transport from the country of origin to the country of destination.

- Those who were adequately informed of the work they would perform (while uncomfortable with being a sex worker, but seeing no viable economic alternative), often found the work opportunity through a friend who was also going abroad to be a sex worker, or had already been abroad in this capacity.

3. Modus Operandi of Trafficking Networks:

Trafficking networks vary in size and nature. A trafficking network can range from a 4 person show to a large operation. I saw apartment-based operations in Moscow and Vladivostok, where one or two people would recruit women and send them abroad to a place where they had a business associate who ran a night club/brothel. I saw larger groups that operated out of Russia-based travel agencies that had travel agency partners abroad involved in the scheme. I also saw a marriage agency, financially backed by a Mafia bank in Moscow, that was, in addition to facilitating marriages, trying to traffic women to Canada and import women from Thailand. The variations go on.

Main features of the way all of these trafficking networks operate include the following:

-Up front financial arrangements between trafficking associates: verbal or written contracts are struck between a trafficker in the country of origin and the trafficking associate in the country of destination which stipulate a lump sum payment from one party to the other for the sale or rental of the woman/girl based on the amount of time she is used for sexual purposes. For example, a Russian trafficker I met was being paid by her Australian associate $2,000/woman for every week the trafficked woman stayed in Australia.

- Preference toward total control over the sending and receiving operations. Many trafficker prefer to keep their operations tightly controlled within their own group, allowing them to control both ends of the trafficking route. For example, a small Turkish trafficking group I met, based in Berlin, travelled to Latvia, where they recruit and transport women back to Berlin, setting them up in inexpensive apartments for sexual visitations. By the way, one of the women they recruited told me she had been promised a job as a dancer, not as a sex worker.

- Contracts or Verbal Agreements are established with the trafficked woman/girl: traffickers create verbal or written contracts with the woman/girl being trafficked, including sums of money promised, and warnings of financial and other penalties that will be incurred if she fails to follow the rules of her boss. The sums of money promised are usually fictitious. The warning about penalties are not.

- Many trafficked woman enter the country of destination with legal documents, secured in duplicitous ways. Through their international contacts, the traffickers secure paper work to get a legitimate visa for the woman/girl to enter the country of destination. The paper work will be a letter of invitation to work, study, or tour in the given country of destination. The paper work will come from a legally registered company, like a travel agency, restaurant, club, etc. This mebans, for instance, that the small group of Turkish men mentioned above, might control or be connected to a travel agency or restaurant in Berlin which is legally registered and can write a legal letter of invitation, which is used to get her a tourist or work visa to come to Germany. I met women in the New York area who had paid $5,000 for a student visa, secured from a midwestern university, and $1,000 for their plane ticket to the US, where they were told they would get some kind of job. After their first 2 weeks, in which they sat in a crowded apartment, they were told that they would be strip-tease dancers.

- Recruitment Fees are always demanded: Traffickers promise the woman/girl a job, but she must pay him for this opportunity to work abroad. Since most of the women/girls do not have the kind of money demanded of them, they are given the opportunity to work off their debt. Alternatively, the woman/girl can borrow the money up front at usurious interest rates, either from the trafficker or a money lender.

- Girls can have their passports forged. For example, one trafficking network told me how they forge underaged female's passports to show they are adults, simply by paying someone in Russia's Foreign Ministry $800. In another case, I met a Russian woman trafficked to Germany who was carrying a Polish passport, secured through a criminal structure linked to the traffickers. Polish citizens can travel to Germany for short periods of time without a visa.

- Once having transported the woman to her destination of work, the traffickers take away her passport and keep it;

- The traffickers also keep control over her earnings, paying her whatever and whenever they want;

- Peonage is often exercised gradually. In almost all cases we reviewed in our investigation, which numbered more than 50 women (only a few were girls), control over their freedom of movement and control over their own money and bodies was taken by traffickers and pimps gradually. The fact that the women and girls had been duped and/or coerced into performing services they did not want to perform, or work longer hours under bad conditions for little to no money, did not occur to them for several weeks or more, by which time they are stuck and too tired and afraid to fight their boss(es). They become fixated on the need to repay their debt and make some profit for themselves --and often their families back home.

4. Trafficked Victims' Fear of Authorities --even NGO's--is Widespread, especially among NIS-based Women:

For 3 main reasons, all the women and girls we met who had been trafficked from the NIS feared taking their case to local police because:

a. having lived under formerly autocratic and now corruption- laced governments, the victims of trafficking feared the police as much as they feared their trafficker and/or pimp. They did not trust either, but they still felt they had to hide behind their trafficker for fear, ironically, of being turned in by him --or her;

b. the notion of "non-governmental" organization (NGO) was alien to the victims, and suspected of being linked to the government. Therefore, few women from the NIS region would seek health or counseling assistance from local groups. This is changing in some countries where local NGO's have improved their outreach capabilitites;

c. the victims realized that if they revealed the nature of their work, they could be deported for working illegally as an alien, and as a prostitute. Deportation, while seemingly an option for escape, would actually lead to retribution by the trafficking network, which would at the very least call in the sizeable debt incurred by the victim who agreed to the contract mentioned earlier. Even worse, by going to the police, the woman puts her life in danger. There have been cases where these women have been threatened, beaten, and even killed by traffickers.

I believe the US government is now moving in the right direction to combat trafficking on US soil and abroad. This is an enormous problem that cannot be tackled overnight. Still, I think more can be done faster, so long as enough resources are made available, resources are used more effectively, and law enforcement authorities are enabled to negotiate with victims in good faith, in order to successfully investigate and prosecute traffickers. Specifically, US policy on this issue should emphasize the following components:

1. Increase Public Awareness:
Equipping women and girls at risk with information about the nature and dangers of trafficking is a vital part of combatting trafficking. Traffickers prey on those who are cut off from the realities beyond their own cities or villages. Effective public awareness efforts should be channeled through grass-roots organizations and via mass media outlets that reach far and wide. USIA and USAID grants can, and are now, being made available for this kind of work. I would like to see more of the public awareness design work, and money for these programs, being controlled by local organizations.

2. Increase Economic Opportunities for Women at Risk:
Traffickers also prey on economically desperate women and girls. Some of the women and girls may know that traveling abroad with an unknown comany, or working as a stripper or sex worker, can be dangerous. But they are desperate for the money and willing to take risks. US foreign aid to NIS countries should emphasize economic opportunities for women. US government grants and loans should also focus on developing local capacity to shelter, counsel, and train victims and potential victims of trafficking. Again, these grants and loans should have a stipulation that overseas implementors have an equal voice in how programs are designed and how the money is spent.

3. Emphasize National Civil Rights Laws and International Human Rights Treaties in Anti-Trafficking Enforcement Activities:
Women and girls forced into prostitution -- and those who chose it-- are just as entitled to civil and human rights protection as the next person. In many CSCE states, women in general --especially women who are willing or even unwilling sex workers-- are deprived of these rights and treated as second class citizens. When they are mistreated, cheated, beaten, raped, or even killed, the attitude is often "well what did she expect getting into a business like this?"

It is worth recalling the existence of several international, anti-slavery instruments, which should be taken into account before OSCE states create new laws or agencies to fight slavery:

* Slavery Convention of 1926

* 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery;

* International Laboour Organization Conventions on Forced Labour (No.29), Abolition of Forced Labour (No. 105), On Freedom of Association (No. 87),and Protection of Wages (No. 95);

* United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

* United Nations Convenetion on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

* Unversal Declaration of Human Rights; and more.

4. Apply these civil and human rights laws/treaties to immigration laws too:
Traffickers benefit from most CSCE states' existing immigration laws. In most countries, authorities are obligated to arrest and deport alien women, girls, men and boys found to be working illegally, even if it may appear they are working under force or duress. The trafficker often escapes justice, largely because the witness has been sent home. With more unwitting victims widely available, the trafficker knows that he/she can continue his/her profitable and relatively risk free business.

A more humane, and I believe effective, response to trafficking would provide a victim with a stay of deportation for at least the period during which the investigation and potential trial against the trafficker takes place. In the case of sex trafficking, during her stay, the woman should be provided shelter, food and counselling, and be allowed to apply for asylum if she can demonstrate that she risks facing physical danger by returning home. Women who have been victimized in the most brutal ways should not be further endangered and humiliated by a strict, undiscerning immigration law. Also, don't forget that these women are potential sources of information that aid law enforcement actions against organized crime groups. But they must be guaranteed protection. This point cannot be overemphasized when talking about potential witnesses who are under the control of large or small organized crime groups from the former Soviet Union.

5. CSCE governmental policies should recognize forced prostitution as a form of forced labor, instead of treating it in a separate category:
Regardless of a nation's laws on prostitution, a woman or girl who is lured into a forced prostitution situation is enticed, trapped and abused the same way a woman, girl, man or boy is trafficked to work as a domestic servant, or sweatshop worker. They are all deceived about their pay, they are all kept under tight control with no practical legal recourse for help, and they are all robbed of their human rights. Furthermore, each of these types of victims are subject to similar psychological and physical abuses, and they are often trafficked through similar channels, sometimes by the same networks.

6. Train governmental personnel in the realities of, and appropriate responses to, trafficking:

These personnel should include: police, immigration, domestic violence hot line operators, and embassy personnel. The current administration has reached out to the local and international human rights and women's right communities on this issue, and as a result we have seen a sincere, effective exchange of information that has benefited everyone. My organization, for instance, has provided training to US embassy personnel, California police, Albanian officials and NGO's, and others. Other groups have done the same. This kind of exchange should continue and expand across the United States and other CSCE countries.

I will be happy to answer any questions you have about the above testimony, as well as questions about how U.S. policy on this issue can be improved.

++++++++++++++++++++++

End Violence Training Program

Dear Jane and Angellina (and members of the list-server), Soul City, a South African NGO using media to address health and development issues is currently producing material on violence against women. These include a prime time television and radio drama which challenges negative attitudes, stimulates debate and informs the public on the rights of women. An easy to read information book is distributed at the same time as we are broadcasting on air. We are also beginning to develop life skills curriculum material on gender-based violence, adapting the mass media material. Is your work in Africa involving curricula for schools or for health workers. It was unclear from your email. Either way, I support Tanya's email (see below) to share ideas. It sounds like we could learn from what you are doing. We are also working with Tanya on Health worker training. If anyone on the list-server would like more information on Soul City's work, please visit our web site at www.soulcity.org.za

Best Wishes,
Dr. Shereen Usdin
Project Manager: Soul City Series

===================================================

What ESSENTIAL actions must be taken?

Victim Services Division Ministry of Attorney General Province
of BC CANADA

Linda Light
12/08/99

Hello all.

It seems to me that there are two primary routes we must take, and both are equally important: 1) we must deal effectively with the abuse that is already going on, and 2) we must put in place measures that will stop the abuse from happening in the future. A third emphasis, to make these both work, would be a coordinated approach. So, the essentials would seem to me to be:

for 1) adequate (not necessarily state-of-the-art) laws and justice system policies must be in place, including effective linkages between national justice systems and traditional systems; police, prosecutors and judges/magistrates must be trained to effectively enforce laws, prosecute cases and make appropriate judgements in cases of violence against women; and the corrections system must be able to manage offenders effectively (and humanely).

for 2) there must be effective public education programs and schools-based programs to define violence against women as a crime and as socially unacceptable; help people understand the root causes of violence against women, with particular emphasis on gender equality; and provide compelling alternative models for gender relations and conflict resolution.

for 3) Coordination is so important that it needs to be identified as a third emphasis. The justice system cannot enforce laws unless they are aware that a crime has taken place, for example. Often victims will come into health clinics or hospitals and unless the two systems are working together, those cases will not be brought forward to the justice system. Furthermore, victims require a great deal of support to take on the enormous and frightening task of becoming a witness in court. The justice system cannot provide that support on its own. The social service system, advocates, NGO's, the health care system, the education system all have very important roles to play in educating and supporting vicitms as they make their way through the justice process. A strong argument can be made for tangibly supporting coordination because it can help scarce resources go further by maximising use of existing resources and avoiding duplication of efforts.

Our experience in British Columbia is that local coordinating committees can be powerful tools for raising community and professional awareness of these issues; building trust among services providers, advocates and systems; addressing barriers to effective responses to violence; and coming up with innovative solutions and initiatives to make real changes in their communities, often with little or no new funding. I realize that this three-pronged approach still presents a huge task, but at least it narrows it down to three major thrusts: enforcement, prevention, and coordination. If those three areas are prioritised, and efforts are assessed in terms of these three priority goals, I believe that we could make real progress in stopping violence against women.

Linda Light Victim Services Division Ministry of Attorney General Province of BC CANADA

===================================================

Number of important steps that must be taken
The UNIFEM Task Force

Dear Members of End-Violence

As ever, the members of this Working Group have provided extremely valuable insights and "lessons from experience." During the past weeks you have identified a number of important steps that must be taken:

* Conduct a multi-pronged strategy that includes law reform as well the use of existing laws to protect women, educate the public, provide training and create pressure for law reform

* Advocate for gender violence to be placed on national health agendas

* Monitor the extent to which courts are implementing legislation that protects women from violence * Create a database of legislation from various countries in order to provide those addressing law reform with ideas for new laws and revisions of laws

* Develop concrete data that can be produced and reported, thereby making it difficult for legislators to dismiss violence against women, including domestic violence, as "just part of our culture" All too often, governments and others claim that there are too many demands for action and they can't do them all. As a result, they do nothing.

Thus, it is important that we narrow our demands to the CORE, ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL actions that MUST be taken. Now we would like to ask you a most difficult question: Of the actions mentioned above (or any others), which are the CORE, ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL actions that MUST be taken by governments, community organizations, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, commercial enterprises, or others? We look forward to hearing your views on this crucial issue, so that we can take them to the UN in their Special Session. With thanks and warm regards

The UNIFEM Task Force

 

 

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