|Toward Gender Equality: The Role of Public Policy (WB, 1995, 88 p.)|
Legal and policy measures can have a direct bearing on the health of women. The law and its enforcement are essential for combating domestic violence against women. If the laws on violence against women are to be enforced, women need to be made aware of the legal recourse available to them and the judiciary and police need to be sensitized to the existence and
Box 3.3 innovative approaches to combating gender violence
Brazil's women-only police stations are an innovative approach to the problem of violence against women. They have been so successful that other countries-including Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Peru, and Uruguay-have emulated them. The police stations have made it easier for women to report gender based crimes of violence, and, with that experience, women are now demanding more support from the police, such as legal counseling and advice. Despite the program's success, the number of convictions for gender-based crimes has not increased, largely because similar innovations have not been made in the judicial system (Heise, Pitanguy, and Germain 1994).
In Zimbabwe the Mussasa project provides support and counseling to abused women and sensitizes police and prosecutors to the issues of domestic violence and rape. To ensure the credibility and acceptability of the training, legal professionals are involved in the program. One branch of the criminal justice system-the police department, for example-often hosts training for another, such as prosecutors (Stewart 1992).
In Costa Rica El Instituto Legal de las Naciones Unidas y Desarrollo runs gender sensitization training for prosecutors, judges, lawyers, and other professionals who deal with crimes of violence against women (Heise, Pitanguy, and Germain 1994).
Implication of violence against women. Affirmative action policies can increase the number of women police officers lawyers, and judges. Trading police, lawyers, and judges can increase their gender sensitivity. making the legal system more responsive to women's needs. Legal literacy efforts can make women aware of their rights and show them how to use these rights to mobilize for change. Some approaches to dealing with domestic violence are illustrated in box 3.3