Skip to main content

Globally, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical, sexual, psychological and other forms of violence. 

In Asia and the Pacific region, the prevalence of violence against women and girls is disproportionately high, with some of the highest rates of violence.

Survivors face harsh realities when seeking protection under the formal justice system including harmful gender bias and stereotyping, lack of understanding of women and girls' legal rights and inadequate institutional mechanisms to deal effectively with these specialized cases.

 

Our Impact

ADB's Law and Policy Reform program recognizes that gender equality and women's empowerment are critical for achieving economic growth, reducing poverty, and supporting socially inclusive development. To help achieve these goals, we assist to enhance legal and policy frameworks and knowledge, skills, and institutional capacity of judiciaries, legal professionals, and survivor advocates in handling gender-based violence cases to deliver fair, predictable, and equal access to justice for women and girls. We do this by: 

Tailored, Culturally Relevant Evidence-Based Trainings on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Cases

  • Delivering customized capacity building programs for judges, magistrates, and prosecutors on gender sensitization and violence against women and girls' procedures, taking into account international good practices, stakeholders' consultations, social and cultural norms most relevant to GBV and focused group discussion to hear about challenges
  • Bridging the gap between the formal and informal justice sectors by working with community and religious leaders
  • Delivering trainings on harassment and bullying in the workplace

Specialized Mechanisms to Address GBV Cases

  • Advising on design, establishment and operationalization of GBV courts or benches, as well as assisting with drafting related guidelines to be followed in GBV cases
  • Assisting with drafting special court procedures to provide for more effective and faster adjudication of GBV cases
  • Advising on improvements to court structural set-up including strategic placement of dividers between survivors and defendants and safe place waiting rooms for children
  • Development of judicial certification programs to prepare groups of specialized judges to handle GBV cases
  • Advising on establishing or updating gender policies for judiciaries and courts

     
 

Knowledge Transfer through a Country-Driven Approach

  • Developing tailored knowledge tools such as bench books, handbooks, protocols and/or guidelines on handling VAWG cases
  • Developing information videos and other materials on sensitively interviewing vulnerable and child witnesses
  • Producing champion videos of justice actors to amplify good practices and inspirational stories
     

Knowledge Sharing and Dialogue on GBV Cases

  • Positive media campaign to empower women, girls, and men and raise legal literacy on GBV cases
  • Convened the first-of-its-kind Asia-Pacific Conference on the Promotion of Gender-Responsive Judicial Systems which brought together justice sector actors and other stakeholders to discuss approaches to strengthening the formal justice systems’ responses to violence against women and girls

"This particular program on Gender Responsive Judicial Systems is probably one of the most important avenues that the Asian Development Bank and partners have pursued in their work with judiciaries in their region."

Honorable Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, National High Court of Brazil (STJ) and President of the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment


 

"I extend my respect to the entire team from ADB for providing support and technical assistance to the entire process…training in this area is extremely important...let us continue in the future with the support of our partners so we can better prepare ourselves as judges to work effectively and to provide better justice, especially to women and children."

Honorable Judge Deolindo dos Santos, President, Timor-Leste Court of Appeal

 

Success Stories

 

In Action

ADB works with Informal Justice Sector in Timor-Leste and Fiji

The ADB Law and Policy Reform Program believes that a foundational understanding of the socio-cultural norms in the countries where we operate is essential. ADB Law and Policy Reform Gender Specialist Samar Minallah works with the informal justice sector in Timor-Leste and Fiji in recognition of the significant influence of the informal justice sector on the lives of women and children is crucial while working to strengthen the formal justice system. By bridging the gap between the formal and informal justice sectors, we aim to ensure that laws and policies within the formal sector are effectively followed and implemented, thereby improving the lives of those most vulnerable.

Strengthening the Formal Justice System’s Response to Violence Against Women & Girls in Timor-Leste

ADB Law and Policy Reform Gender Specialists share recent achievements in Timor-Leste including building the capacity of judges and prosecutors, creating linkages among the informal and formal justice systems, and utilizing innovative awareness-raising tools.

Asia-Pacific Conference on the Promotion of Gender-Responsive Judicial Systems

Photos from the Asia-Pacific Conference on the Promotion of Gender-Responsive Judicial Systems, which convened justice sector actors and key stakeholders to strengthen the formal justice systems’ responses to violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the region.

 

Knowledge Resources

 

Events

Trainings on Gender-Based Violence Cases for Timor-Leste Judges

In partnership with the Superior Council of Judicial Magistrates, ADB conducts training for Court of Appeal and district court judges on gender sensitization and violence against women and girls laws and procedures, including international best practices.

Asia-Pacific Conference on the Promotion of Gender-Responsive Judicial Systems

The conference convened justice sector actors and other stakeholders to discuss approaches to strengthening the formal justice systems’ responses to violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the Asia and the Pacific region.

Gender based Violence and COVID-19 Working Towards Gender Responsive Judicial Systems

ADB hosts discussion focused on the targeted initiatives for responding to increased gender-based violence in the region. The panelists discussed working with the judiciary on reducing gender-based violence and promoting gender equality.