University Module Series Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Violence against Women and Girls

Authored by: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Categories: Human Rights
Sub-Categories: Access to Justice and Rule of Law, International Law, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Year: 2019
Citation: "E4J University Module Series: Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Violence Against Women and Girls." United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, July 2019.

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Executive Summary

Developed under UNODC’s Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, a component of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, this Module forms part of the E4J University Module Series on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and is accompanied by a Teaching Guide.  All E4J university modules provide suggestions for in-class exercises, student assessments, slides, and other teaching tools that lecturers can adapt to their contexts, and integrate into existing university courses and programmes. The Module provides an outline for a three-hour class, but can be used for shorter or longer sessions.

In the early 1990s, violence against women and girls was recognized as a form of discrimination, that “seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men” (GA Resolution 34/180). Over successive decades, particular forms of violence against women and girls have been recognized as violations of the right not to be tortured – even where the person inflicting that violence is a private citizen, such as an abusive husband or partner. In recent years, purposive withholding or denial of medical treatment that only women and girls need – for example, denial of safe and legal abortion where a woman’s life or health is threatened – has also been recognized as violating the right not to be tortured.

Human rights law requires that women and girl survivors have access to reparation for violence against women. The idea of “transformative reparation” for violence against women, is built on the understanding that violence against women is a cause and consequence of discrimination, and that this discrimination needs to be transformed into equality to achieve genuine reparation for individual women and society as a whole (Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, 2010) Transformative reparation seeks to provide individual remedies, including rehabilitation (both physical and psychological), and compensation, and to address the structural – particularly social and legal – causes of gender inequality and violence. Addressing these forms of discrimination seeks to ensure gender equality in societies, communities and families.