USAID Promotes Improving Access to Justice for Victims of Gender-Based Violence

On May 17, 2021, with the support of the USAID New Justice Program and Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies, the kick-off meeting of the Working Group on developing a roadmap for using a people-centered approach to improve access to justice for people who experienced gender-based violence took place.

The working group included judges, lawyers, representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office and National Bar Association, experts of the Ministry of Justice, and NGO representatives.

Participants of the meeting analyzed a range of key problems in the field of combating domestic violence in Ukraine. In particular, frequent refusal to apply envisaged by current legislation restrictive injunctions to an abuser in order to protect victims is called forth, on the one hand, by the lack of professional knowledge and understanding of the legal nature of such institute by the police and some judges, and on the other, by low legal awareness of citizens and not always high quality of legal aid provided to them. There is also a lack of uniform case law and non-enforcement of court decisions on the issuance of restrictive injunctions regarding abusers-co-owners of domicile where the victim of domestic violence resides, etc.

This set of problems indicates the problems of access to justice. The discussion also ensued over how the application of a people-centered approach to justice can help to develop advanced and efficient solutions to eliminate the identified problems.

During the next meeting of the Working Group participants are planning to approve the roadmap to address the outlined problems of access to justice for victims of gender-based violence, which they will present to all the interested.

The establishment of the Working Group was preceded by national consultations concerning the concept of people-centered justice and pathways to implement a people-centered approach to justice in Ukraine, which took place in November 2020. This activity facilitates achieving the UN SDG target 16.3 “Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all”.