Over a decade has passed since the end of conflict in Liberia, but incidence of sexual and gender-based violence has not diminished. Numerous studies reveal an extremely high prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence. According to an IDLO study, in 2015 1396 cases were reported to the Montserrado five one-stop clinics alone. Among those cases, 267 were reported to the Women’s and Children’s Protection Section within the Liberia National Police, 119 received an indictment, while only 3 cases went through to trial. As is common with sexual and gender-based violence universally, reported cases represent only a fraction of violations. It is estimated that over two thirds of sexual and gender-based violence cases across the country never enter the justice system at all, let alone gain access to legal aid and the courts.
IDLO is implementing a project that aims to address sexual and gender-based violence in Liberia. To this end, IDLO will support the enhancement of knowledge and skills of justice actors in the investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence, specifically, crime scene investigation, trial techniques and psycho-social counselling. The project also seeks to enhance the efficiency of the courts by conducting a needs assessment of the Nimba Sexual Offence Court and capacity-building training for selected Women's and Children's Protection Section offices. Lastly, to facilitate access to justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, IDLO will work to ensure that vulnerable populations have increased understanding of the sexual and gender-based violence referral pathway and preventive mechanisms through awareness-raising.