How the Legal System is Failing to Protect Women and Girls from Sexual Violence

March 14, 2017 - 10:10am

In 'The World's Shame - the Global Rape Epidemic: How Laws Around the World are Failing to Protect Women and Girls from Sexual Violence' Equality Now has looked at laws to protect women and girls against sexual violence in 82 jurisdictions within 73 UN member states and Palestine.

Equality Now aims to show a general picture of rape laws in the legal systems surveyed and has used the UN Handbook for Legislation on Violence against Women as the benchmark by which to measure these laws.

Despite some positive developments, our research has found that gender discrimination remains widespread and there are numerous examples where women and girls are denied the same legal rights as men and boys. In addition, some laws are poorly conceived and so fail to protect or promote the rights of those who have been subjected to sexual attack.

There are also circumstances in which decent laws exist but aren’t being well implemented. Having strong laws in place is crucial but to it is also vitally important that they are correctly applied to ensure that victims get the positive legal outcome they deserve.

Bad laws prevent victims from gaining access to justice, and can enable perpetrators of sexual violence to avoid appropriate punishment. 

Equality Now concludes that there is still much that needs to be done to guarantee that adequate laws are enacted, developed and enforced.

Read more of this article and find the full report via Equality Now by clicking here.

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