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Women may not have immediate capacity to use the formal system

Last edited: December 20, 2011

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  • Women have greater literacy challenges, are poorer, work longer hours, and have more responsibilities at home than men in most countries. Without the ability to understand written documents from the formal court and without the time or financial resources to access the formal courts, women generally need substantial support to increase their capacity before they can access the formal system.
  • Physical access to courts can be even more problematic for women if there are social restrictions on their ability to travel, and if they cannot leave their domestic duties or if they do not have the financial resources in order to travel.
  • Local power dynamics, often male-controlled, may not be supportive of a woman’s desire to access the justice system.
  • The formal justice system is often seen as rigid and unresponsive to women’s needs and is often staffed largely by males unwilling or untrained to handle gender-based violence.
  • Women may prefer to access the informal justice system which is often just as discriminatory, and sometimes even more so, than the formal system.