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Training Prosecutors

The U.N. Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women, sec. 3.2.3, recommends that laws mandate:

  • Regular and institutionalized gender sensitivity training and capacity building on violence against women;
  • Specific training and capacity building when new legislation is enacted; and
  • Development and consultation with NGOs and service providers in the process of training development.

Prosecutors in particular should be trained relative to:

  • The overall context and patterns that characterize crimes of violence against women;
  • How to make charging decisions;
  • How to engage with victims;
  • Bail and pre-trial release determinations; and
  • Plea agreements and sentencing recommendations.

See: Blueprint for Safety, ch. 5.

Examples:

United Kingdom: The Crown Prosecution Service has been proactive in training its prosecutors about different of types of violence against women. All of the approximately 4000 prosecutors and associate prosecutors completed mandatory domestic violence training by the end of 2008. Prosecutors in four areas were trained in 2007 related to dealing with forced marriage and honor crimes and expansion of that training is scheduled in 2009. A mandatory training course for more than 800 rape coordinators and specialist rape prosecutors is to be completed by 2011. Training for unit heads dealing with complex trafficking cases was completed in 2008. (See: Training of Prosecutors, UN Secretary General’s database on violence against women)

Guatemala: In Guatemala, femicide and other forms of violence against women have been an extremely serious problem, with hundreds of women killed each year. A poorly trained justice sector was identified as one factor helping to perpetuate the violence. To attempt to redress the problem, more than 100 prosecutors from across Guatemala were trained through a USAID-UNICAP partnership. The training covered the economic, social, and political implications of gender disparity and included a multicultural sensitivity component to address the unique concerns of indigenous women. (See: USAID, Annual Report on Good Practices, Lessons Learned, and Success Stories, 10 (2006))