From its inception, New Perimeter has had a particular focus on women’s advancement, including fighting gender-based violence, which is a key impediment to women’s full participation in social and economic life across the globe. In 2016 we were pleased to begin a new collaboration with Vital Voices Global Partnership to provide research assistance and guest faculty for several of their “Justice Institutes,” which are multi-day trainings aimed at building the capacity of law enforcement, lawyers, judges, social workers, and other stakeholders to combat human trafficking and gender-based violence in their communities. In our first year of involvement in this program, Sara Andrews (Boston), Lisa Dewey (Washington, DC), and Alexi Wood (Toronto) participated in Justice Institutes as guest faculty in Thailand, Colombia, and India, respectively.
In November I also had the opportunity to participate in a Justice Institute sponsored by the Avon Foundation and held in the city of San Miguel de Tucuman in Northern Argentina. More than 60 participants from the provinces of Tucuman, Salta, and Jujuy gathered to share their diverse experiences combatting gender-based violence and serving domestic violence survivors. The faculty included experts from Vital Voices and the NGO Aequitas, as well as local representatives from the judiciary, law enforcement, social services, government and private attorneys, and academia. Through the Justice Institute’s interactive curriculum, the participants were able to break down misconceptions, form cross-disciplinary partnerships, and develop new techniques to better investigate and prosecute gender-based offenses while remaining sensitive to the needs of the victim.
During the three-day Institute, trainers presented on topics regarding investigations and evidence-gathering, identifying the right charges and bringing a case, understanding victim behavior, collaborating with other stakeholders, protecting children, and other related topics. After each presentation, the attendees were engaged in applying the information they just learned to realistic case studies. Discussion was frank and lively, and often highlighted the unique and substantial barriers to justice present in very rural areas and indigenous communities.
I left Tucuman with a deep respect for the passion of the advocates fighting to serve survivors of gender-based violence, as well as their generosity in sharing their challenges and triumphs during our short time together.
Vital Voices Justice Institute Participants