Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) has now established services directed to victims of gender-based violence.
The Justice Services for Victims of Gender-Based Violence framework provides affected persons with key redress and legal services free of cost to help them navigate the justice system and get help. Jamaicans for Justice recognizes that the system does not always work for victims who need it the most and through this service, we will be lending a helping hand.
It is violence against someone based on gender-related factors or violence which disproportionately affects a particular gender – such as sexual violence. While GBV can affect anyone, it disproportionately affects women and girls.
Under this initiative, Jamaicans for Justice will provide key redress and legal services in cases of domestic violence, sexual violence and harassment, child protection, and otherwise. Persons can receive free legal advice, case support, legal representation, and other forms of assistance. These services help to address gaps in the national response to gender-based violence through professional and accessible services to the vulnerable and at risk.
Jamaica’s Gender-Based Violence Situation
One-quarter of Jamaican women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Very few receive the protection, justice, and treatment that they need. According to Jamaica’s latest available data, “One in four women (25.2%) has experienced physical violence by a male partner, and “one in four women (24.4%) reported being sexually harassed during their lifetime.”
The impact of gender-based violence on women’s wellbeing is severe, with more than one-third of abused women suffering injuries from their abuse. Jamaica’s 2016 Women’s Health Survey found that:
“Women who are abused have poorer general health and are more likely to suffer from depression and consider suicide than women…The danger that intimate partner violence poses to the children of battered women is particularly profound. These children are more likely to drop out of school…and face all the risks that flow from this and early exposure to violence”Women’s Health Survey. 2016. Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Inter-American Development Bank and UN-Women.
Given these serious risks, dedicated services that support victims’ access to justice, protection and care are critical at this time. As such, as part of our broader Gender-Based Violence programming, Jamaicans for Justice has established this specific framework to provide redress and legal services to persons in need.
Types of Support available in Domestic & Gender-Based Violence Cases
Victims of gender-based violence often need professional support to effectively respond to their cases in a sensitive and dignified manner. But many times, the system leaves them feeling unprotected, frustrated, and re-traumatized.
Jamaicans for Justice will provide the following services to assist persons with accessing justice and receiving the protection and treatment that they need:
- Free legal advice to anyone affected, including persons and organizations that support victims. We will listen and give professional advice.
- Case support to victims that helps them access justice. Our dedicated team will help persons get protection and seek justice in the way that best suits their needs through:
- making reports
- interacting with the police
- applying for court orders
- preparing legal documents
- Legal representation on behalf of victims. Depending on the nature of the case and the availability of resources, our attorneys will represent victims in need.
- Connecting victims to a network of support, including therapeutic, health and welfare services that can help meet their different needs.
Working with other Organisations
Jamaicans for Justice is taking a collaborative approach in coordinating these services. We will expand our referral partnerships to include key organizations serving victims and their families.
Participating organizations will be able to refer cases to Jamaicans for Justice for support as well as receive support as organizations. This will create a direct avenue to link persons to support. Jamaicans for Justice presently provides this service to several organizations working with vulnerable groups, children, HIV+ persons, and LGBT persons. We welcome new partnerships with organizations nationwide.
To establish a referral partnership, organizations may directly contact Legal and Policy Officer, Christopher Harper via Christopher.Harper@jamaicansforjustice.org, or contact us via the general channels below.