Tackling Violence Against Women through Human Rights Law-Inspired Approaches (With Observations from the Philippines).
Abstract: Violence against women (“VAW”) is a global matter; and human rights law-inspired approaches, also universal in nature (it is argued), can be the missing link in tackling a global problem. In underlining the universal applicability of human rights standards, principles and norms; it is suggested that drawing inspiration from human rights-based approaches would contribute to implementation of holistic and wholesome methods through which victims of VAW can be better served and VAW in its entirety can be tackled, even preventatively. In emphasising the need to acquire a broader understanding of the nature of VAW, the far-reaching effects of such violence are discussed; as is discourse on ‘VAW as torture’. While the importance of the role of the criminal legal process is not disputed, the thesis takes as its point of departure from the inability of the criminal justice system to tackle VAW matters effectively. The critique is offered on two points - the inaccessibility of the criminal legal system, thereby restricting full or equal access to legal avenues; and victim stereotyping as an inhibiting factor to the legal process, whether before or during court proceedings. Nonetheless, where the criminal law system and human rights law initiatives are combined and function in a complimentary manner, tackling VAW becomes a more fruitful affair. As such, the marrying of initiatives from the two sectors is proposed as a befitting method. The observations from the Philippines included herein are used to offer example of how such International Human Rights Law-inspired approaches would and could work in practice to serve, protect and prevent.
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