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Handbook on Effective Prosecution Responses to Violence against Women and Girls

image of Handbook on Effective Prosecution Responses to Violence against Women and Girls

Prosecutors play a critical role in the criminal justice response to violence against women and girls. Prosecuting gender based violent crime can be challenging. Often there are a number of challenges, due to the private nature of the offence, and police investigation may be substandard. Victims may be uncooperative, withdraw or recant their complaints. Judges or juries may employ gender bias or common myths surrounding violence against women and girls when examining the credibility of the victim and the facts of the case. Drawing upon the updated Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (General Assembly resolution 65/228, annex), UNODC and UN Women have drafted the Handbook on Effective Prosecution Responses to Violence against Women and Girls. Recognizing that prosecutors work in different legal systems, it is meant to be a helpful resource for individual prosecutors and prosecution services.

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The role of the prosecutor in violence against women and girls investigation processes

The investigation process represents the entry point to the criminal justice system. A comprehensive and sensitive investigation is vital for ensuring accountability for crimes against women and girls, eliminating impunity and providing protection to the victims. Investigative processes are largely conducted by police or other investigative agencies, however, prosecutors from different legal system take on different roles and tasks during the investigation stage. They may conduct, direct or supervise investigations. In any situation, prosecutors are to cooperate with police and other investigators to ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and fairness of prosecutions involving violence against women and girls.

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