The following elements are proposed for NGOs which are conducting monitoring studies independent from governmental offices. Many NGOs, however, utilize government statistics offices for monitoring reports to determine the prevalence of violence against women and girls, reporting rates of crimes of violence against women and girls, and other relevant factors.
Review of international treaties
As part of background research before a monitoring report is commenced, monitors should determine if the state is a party to important treaties, declarations, and conventions which recognize a woman’s fundamental right to be free from violence. As noted in Domestic Violence in Brazil: Examining Obstacles and Approaches to Promote Legislative Reform (2010) “International human rights laws and principles can provide an important source of inspiration and a rallying point for social change.” p. 69. For example:
States parties should take all legal and other measures that are necessary to provide effective protection of women against gender-based violence, including, inter alia:
(i) Effective legal measures, including penal sanctions, civil remedies and compensatory provisions to protect women against all kinds of violence, including inter alia violence and abuse in the family, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace; 24 (t) (i)
States should condemn violence against women and should not invoke any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination. States should pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating violence against women and, to this end, should…
(c)Exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons;
(d)Develop penal, civil, labour and administrative sanctions in domestic legislation to punish and redress the wrongs caused to women who are subjected to violence; women who are subjected to violence should be provided with access to the mechanisms of justice and, as provided for by national legislation, to just and effective remedies for the harm that they have suffered; States should also inform women of their rights in seeking redress through such mechanisms; Article 4
Review of country law and policy
Monitors should research all country laws and policies relevant to the monitoring project. A summary of these laws and policies should be included in the monitoring report.
For example, see: Domestic Violence Legislation and its Implementation: An Analysis for ASEAN Countries Based on International Standards and Good Practices (2009) which provides a detailed analysis of domestic violence legislation in the ASEAN region.
In another example, Monitoring of Court Proceedings (2010) by the Macedonia Women’s Rights Centre-Shelter Centre contains a detailed introduction to the legal system of the Republic of Macedonia.
In 2009, the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children of Australia published Domestic Violence Laws in Australia, a detailed comparative analysis of all state, territory, and New Zealand domestic violence laws. The study compared the definition of domestic violence used by each entity, and analyzed the laws on orders for protection in each location, among other issues. It also noted potential areas of conflict between order for protection laws and the federal Family Law Act (1975).
To prepare for advocating for a new or amended law that addresses violence against women and girls, see the Ongoing Monitoring and Follow-up section of this Knowledge Asset on Advocating for New Laws or the Reform of Existing Laws on Violence against Women and Girls.
Monitors should consider the following in conducting background research:
Develop contacts around the country
Monitors should work with local partner organizations to develop a wide network of women’s advocacy, human rights groups, and other NGOs which can provide information and assistance in the research. NGOs can provide insight into the problem being researched and into the way individuals and groups relate to each other in different regions of the country. They can often assist in identifying the appropriate people to interview and in arranging the interviews. They will also often help with the logistics in planning an investigative mission when the monitors are from outside a community.
Research literature, folklore, and poetry
Literature, folklore, and poetry often reflect societal attitudes about women and their roles. They may also reflect attitudes about violence against women and its acceptance as normal behavior.
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