In the post-conflict transition, significant steps have been taken to combat sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Liberia. The Government of Liberia established a policy and legal framework that includes the Rape Law (2006), a National Gender Policy (2017), and a National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Management of Gender-Based Violence in Liberia. However, in 2017, over 1100 SGBV cases have been reported in Montserrado County alone, representing only a small proportion of the violations that occur. Furthermore, the number of cases that have progressed to court remains low. Unequal access to justice for SGBV survivors contributes to a climate of impunity for SGBV cases, undermining confidence in the formal justice sector.
IDLO, in partnership with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), is implementing a project that aims to improve access to justice for women and survivors of SGBV by supporting the capacity of the formal justice sector to investigate and prosecute SGBV cases. The project will work to enhance the efficiency of the Criminal Court “E” to address sexual offenses and improve its transparency and efficiency in the processing of SGBV cases. IDLO intends to increase understanding of SGBV referral pathways and preventive mechanisms through the Women’s and Children’s Protection Section and the SGBV Crimes Prosecution Unit. Awareness-raising activities will reach out a wide range of stakeholders and emphasis will be placed on children, between the ages of 10 and 17 years, as this is the most reported age range of SGBV survivors.
Photo © UNMEER/Martine Perret