Legislation should provide that an employer must allow a survivor or a witness, or her spouse or family, who is requested or subpoenaed by the prosecutor to attend court for the purpose of giving testimony, reasonable time off from work to attend criminal proceedings for the case. Legislation should provide that an employer who discharges, disciplines, penalizes or threatens an employee who took time off under the provisions described above is guilty of a misdemeanor and must offer the employee job reinstatement and payment of back wages as appropriate. (See: Minnesota, USA Statute §611A.036; UN Handbook 3.6.3; and Organic Act on Integrated Protection Measures against Gender Violence (2004) of Spain, Article 21.)
Workplaces Respond is an online resource that provides information on creating an effective workplace response to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and other forms of violence against women. The website offers information to raise awareness, tools to help implement workplace policies and ensure safety, and resources for victims to get help and connect with local agencies working around issues of sexual and domestic violence. Available in English (last acc. 16 April 2013).
Case Study: Beyond Reparation and Compensation: The Rome Statute’s Trust Fund for Victims:
The Rome Statute, Article 79 (1998) established the Trust Fund for Victims (TVF) and their families.The international, victim-centered TVF has become an important source of assistance for victims of gender-based violence in conflict and former conflict areas. According to the Winter 2012 report of theTVF, it supported approximately 83,400 victims of international crimes in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo during that period. The TVF assists not only victims and their families but also communities in the project mandate. All assistance aims to “promote the wellbeing of victims and affected communities, social cohesion and reconciliation, social and economic reintegration into the community, and healing and rehabilitation.” (Winter 2012 report, page 4.)
Assistance offered to victims is exceptionally broad in accordance with the victim-centered goals. It provides an excellent model of the scope of services which could be offered to victims of sexual violence in all states:
The TFV provides three types of legally defined assistance to victim survivors: physical
rehabilitation, psychological rehabilitation and material support. A victim-centred approach combined with an integrated community-based approach remains two guiding strategies for the implementing partners. The information about the type of assistance is described below:
TVF Winter 2012 report, page 6.
CalVCP and CDCR Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services, Financial Recovery: A Victim’s Guide to Restitution. Available in English.
After six years of limiting reparations for sexual violence only to victims of rape, the Peruvian congress passed a law in 2012 making victims of other forms of sexual violence eligible for civil war reparations. According to Peru’s truth and reconciliation commission, the newly recognized forms of sexual violence – including sexual slavery, forced abortion, forced prostitution and kidnapping – were widespread during Peru’s twenty-year conflict. The law will extend reparations to at least 500 more women, who now will be eligible for monetary compensation and free healthcare, therapy, and even education, since many women who experienced sexual violence during the civil war were not able to continue in school. See: Mattia Cabitza, “Peru Widens Civil War Compensation for Victims of Sexual Violence,” The Guardian (28 June 2012).
Colombia’s Ministry of Health has expanded the scope of services to victims of gender-based violence. In December 2011, Colombia’s Ministry of Health issued implementing rules for Law 1257/2009, prescribing benefits for victims, including access to food, shelter, and transportation. Ministry of Health Decree 4796/2011.
War Reparations Provided for Victims of Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone For the first time in history, war reparations are being directed towards women as a means to address the critical needs of victims of sexual violence. An initiative sponsored by the German government is allowing the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to work in partnership with the Sierra Leone Reparations Program (SLRP) to assist women who suffered brutal forms of violence during the country’s long-running civil war, which ended in 2002. The IOM provides both technical assistance and expertise to SLRP and aims to directly assist women by providing trauma counseling, vocational training, and cash allowances to help set up income-generating opportunities. Through these activities, IOM has seen thousands of women begin to recover and escape the detrimental stigmas and feelings of abandonment and neglect that often follow acts of sexual violence. See: Support for the Sierra Leone Reparations Programme.
Example: the Sexual Offences Act (2003) of Lesotho states that:
In any criminal proceedings where an accused is charged with an offence of a sexual nature, the prosecutor shall consult with the complainant in the proceedings in order to-
(a) ensure that any information relevant to the trial is obtained from the complainant, including information relevant to the question whether the accused is to be released on bail and, if the accused were so released, whether any conditions of bail are to be imposed;
(b) orientate the complainant with the court structure and procedures; and
(c) provide any information to the complainant necessary to lessen the impact of the trial on the complainant. Part VII, 29
The Combating of Rape Act No 8, (2000) of Namibia includes the following provision:
In criminal proceedings at which an accused is charged with an offence of a sexual
nature, it shall be the duty of the prosecutor to consult with the complainant in such proceedings in order –
(a) to ensure that all information relevant to the trial has been obtained from the
complainant, including information relevant to the question whether the
accused should be released on bail and, if the accused were so released,
whether any conditions of bail should be imposed; and
(b) to provide all such information to the complainant as will be necessary to
lessen the impact of the trial on the complainant. Section 9
The Combating of Rape Act No 8, (2000) of Namibia states that:
(1) A complainant of rape shall have the right -
(a) to attend any proceedings where the question is considered whether an
accused who is in custody on a charge of rape should be released on bail or,
if bail has been granted to the accused, whether any further conditions of bail
should be imposed under section 62 or whether any such conditions of bail should be amended or supplemented under section 63; and
(b) to request the prosecutor in proceedings referred to in paragraph (a) to
present any information or evidence to the court that might be relevant to any
question under consideration by the court in such proceedings. Section 12
South Africa’s National Management Guidelines for Sexual Assault (2003) provides guidelines to prosecutors as to when charges may be withdrawn and how to communicate with victims and witnesses. Available in English.
Legislation should establish guidelines for warranted drug screening to detect surreptitious drugging of survivors with substances known in some places as “rape drugs.” Legislation should require law enforcement officers to fully inform survivors who are supplying blood or urine for drug screening that full drug screening might detect illegal substances. Legislation should prohibit law enforcement from charging victims with illegal behavior, such as using illicit drugs or underage use of alcohol, that happened around the sexual assault.
Use of interpreters
Legislation should require that interpreters who have been trained to work with survivors of sexual assault, harassment, and stalking be utilized at all stages of response, investigation, and prosecution of sexual assault cases. Interpreters should be required for language interpretation and for the deaf or hard of hearing and the visually impaired.
Previous Topic Courtroom safety