Forming specialized prosecutorial units to facilitate training, foster expertise, and increase efficiency and quality of services to survivors. Survivors should have the option to work with female prosecutors. Units should be fully and consistently funded to promote sustainability. Research indicates that specialized domestic violence prosecution units increase prosecution and conviction rates, as well as victim cooperation and satisfaction (Klein, 2009). The advantages of specialized units are:
Specialized Prosecutor Units Improve Access to Justice in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, international and governmental organizations have founded specialized prosecutor units which focus on crimes of violence against women and girls under the 2009 Elimination of Violence Law. The first unit was formed in Kabul in 2010 and consisted of eleven prosecutors who received special training on gender justice. In the first year they prosecuted nearly 300 cases, usually of assault or rape, and prosecutions doubled from the first to last month of the initial year. The Kabul Unit also formed a network of victim support services with shelters, health, and educational resources in order to facilitate their use by women and girls. Its success prompted the Afghan Attorney General and international governments and organizations to open a second specialized unit in Herat in 2011.
Source: International Development Law Organization. 2011. Le Bureau du Procureur Général et L’OIDD Lancent Une Unité De Lutte Contre la Violence à L’Encontre des Femmes dans la Province de Herat, en Afghanistan.
Using specially-designated prosecutors
Training specially-designated individual prosecutors, who are trained on the dynamics of violence against women is a useful strategy when establishing specialized units is not feasible. Also, using vertical prosecution is another strategy in managing case assignment. With vertical prosecution, the same prosecutor is assigned to the case from beginning to end. Benefits of vertical prosecution include: