Legislation on violence against women should provide safety, aid, and empowerment for survivors through criminal and civil provisions which include a broad range of remedies and reparations for women who have been subjected to violence.
In 2012, the Human Rights Council conducted a panel discussion on women’s human rights including the theme of remedies and reparations for women subjected to violence. A Summary of the Human Rights Council panel discussion on the theme of remedies for women subjected to violence: Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights sets forth some general principles, challenges, and promising practices, in providing effective, prompt, just, transformative, and culturally sensitive reparations for women who have been subjected to violence in different contexts. The summary of points made during the panel discussion include may guide creation of promising reparations programmes:
- It is the obligation of States to ensure that women victims of violence have full access to justice, including reparations.
- Reparations encompass compensation, restitution, rehabilitation, measures of satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition.
- Victims must be adequately informed of their rights to reparations.
- The reparation process should ”allow for women and girls to come forward when they are ready and the registration process should take into account obstacles women may face if displacement is necessary or other costs are implicated.”
- The reparation process “must not expose women to further harm, stigmatization and ostracism and should take into account their safety and best interest at all times, including by ensuring confidentiality and avoiding public disclosure of violations suffered.”
- The reparation process should ensure eligibility standards for reparations are inclusive, avoid re-victimization, and are aware of obstacles and challenges victims of certain crimes may face.
- The reparation process should ensure meaningful participation by the victim in the design and delivery of reparations.
- Generic compensation schemes that do not have a requirement of prosecution or conviction provide a positive avenue through which women who experience violence can claim compensation. This is especially significant given the low number of convictions in various areas.
- Remedies and reparations programmes should be also created in post-conflict settings.
- In traditional and informal justice processes care should be taken to monitor customary dispute-resolution mechanisms as well as differences in outcomes that exist between decisions at the formal judicial level and the non-formal process that fail to protect women’s rights.
- In developing reparation policies and programs, there is a call for “substantive participation of women who have been subjected to violence and civil society actors, such as women’s groups and community leaders, alongside men and boys, to ensure a holistic concept of remedies and reparations.”
- Effort should be made to ensure remedies and reparations “are specific to individual circumstances and culture in order to prevent discrimination, stigmatization, and re-victimization of victims of violence”.