International Development Law Organization

Crucial forensic training conducted in Liberia

In a country where in 2013, rape and domestic violence were reported as accounting for over 70 per cent of all serious reported crimes, IDLO has been providing crucial support in forensic training.

In Liberia, the WHO estimates that between 61 and 77% of women and girls were raped during the civil war, and gender-based violence continues to be prevalent.

IDLO’s work in the country promotes accountability for Sexual and Gender Based Violence and supports actors in the SGBV response mechanism.

Nurse examiners, prosecutors, victim support officers and case liaison officers attended a three-day course, organised by IDLO, the UN mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the Integrated Justice Systems International (IJSI).

Sessions, led by legal and medical practitioners, focussed on evidence gathering, documentation and preservation, with the aim of improving SGBV case progression and management.

Experts explained elements of the rape law as a foundation to the workshop and the role of each actor in the response to SGBV, as well as the expectations in the courtroom, what is required of an expert witness and cross-examination. Others covered interviews and medical examinations, consent, confidentiality, forensic photography, support of the victim and the duty of the Registered Nurse in this respect. On the final day, discussions were held on the roles and responsibilities of each institution within the justice chain and the response to SGBV requiring a coordinated and integrated approach from different professionals and agencies.

Participants reported finding the workshop informative and interactive. In addition to increasing their knowledge and correcting misconceptions, they said the training had allowed them to strengthen collaboration in the SGBV response and requested further support.