Implementation Plan and Participants
"I am truly awed by the talent and the inspiring men and women who are participating in this event today. This is a forum that has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women everywhere. I'm proud to be a part of it. I promise you the support of the United States Government and the State Department and my support as Secretary. And long after I'm Secretary, I hope to continue the dialogue with you. "
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Senior Roundtable for Women’s Justice
Washington, DC, March 12, 2008
On March 12, 2008, approximately seventy federal, state, and international judges and legal practitioners participated in the Senior Roundtable for Women’s Justice, hosted by the United States Department of State, to address violence against women and lack of women’s access to justice. This document presents the recommendations of the Senior Roundtable, to be used for future work by the attendees, as well as government, non-governmental, and international institutions, including Secretary Rice’s Women Leaders’ Working Group.
Awareness: The Senior Roundtable for Women’s Justice concurred that there needs to be greater awareness on behalf of governments and civil society that domestic violence is not a “women’s issue” but a serious, pervasive, societal issue which affects public health and welfare. Anecdotal evidence from judges indicates that a majority of criminal defendants are raised in homes where domestic violence occurred. Recommendations include:
- Supporting research which definitively clarifies the link between domestic violence in the home and subsequent criminal behavior.
- Developing a high-level public service campaign to help inform governments and civil society about the impact of domestic violence on public health and safety.
- Within institutions, re-framing the issue of domestic violence as a pandemic to change the perception of the problem from an “internal” matter to a public health and safety issue.
Legislation and Implementation of Law: In many countries, national, local, or religious laws do not sufficiently protect women from violence because inter alia, burdens of proof are too strong, crimes against women do not have adequate sentences, or laws addressing violence against women simply do not exist. In countries where laws do exist to protect women, they are often not enforced because there are too many institutional obstacles that prevent women from getting their case to court, and justice institutions can be unsympathetic. As a result, in many countries, violence against women is simply accepted, or even encouraged, and women have a profound distrust of legal mechanisms. Restoration of trust in legal institutions is critical.
Where discrimination in law occurs, the Senior Roundtable recommends:
- Partnerships with legislatures to help re-work legal codes to close loopholes which permit or do not adequately punish acts of violence against women.
- Partnerships with civil society to teach advocacy, so that ordinary citizens can mobilize and lobby their governments to repeal or re-draft discriminatory legislation.
- The Senior Roundtable also notes that where legislation provides for unreasonably strict punishments for violence against women, some courts are reluctant to convict perpetrators.
Where impunity or discrimination in fact occurs, the Senior Roundtable recommends:
- Increased, standardized training for police officers, prosecutors, and judges.
- Concerted efforts to bring more women into justice vocations, particularly women judges.
- Creating better access for women to lawyers or legal providers. The Senior Roundtable noted that even where a lawyer might be too expensive or unavailable, training paralegals to assist women in court is also highly effective.
- Developing networks and communication among judges in order to stay current on the laws, national trends, and training opportunities relating to domestic violence.
Education: The Senior Roundtable identified education as one of the most fundamental remedies for addressing violence against women and increasing women’s access to justice. Recommendations are as follows:
- Both governments and civil society need to be educated about the impact of domestic violence on public health and safety.
- Boys and girls need curriculum-based education that violence against women in any society is detrimental, dangerous, demeaning, and criminal. Women and men alike will also benefit from this message, but it is critical to break the cycle with younger generations.
- Men, women, boys, and girls need greater training about their rights as individuals and the remedies that are available when violence occurs.
- Police, prosecutors, and judges need specialized training on the investigation, prosecution, and interpretation of crimes relating to violence against women.
- Social and health workers need specialized training on the treatment of women who are victims of gender-based violence.
Protection and support: With a globally upward trend in violence against women, the Senior Roundtable stressed that it is increasingly essential to generate appropriate support for women victims/survivors through adequate and accessible services that foster women’s safety and agency. The Senior Roundtable recommends:
- Increased emphasis on legal aid for victims/survivors of gender-based violence, including, where appropriate, holistic models such as the San Diego Family Justice Center, which consolidates services for domestic violence victims in one location, including legal services, health services, job placement services, and childcare.
- Promotion of victims/survivors’ knowledge of their rights and available remedies.
- Job placement services and education for women who are financially dependant on their batterers.
- Sufficient legal protection for women who are intimidated or threatened by their batterers.
- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
- Sandra Day O’Connor, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (Ret.)
- Andrea Jung, Chairman & CEO of Avon Products, Inc.
- Jane Ansah, Attorney General of Malawi
- Nahida Mehboob Ellahi, Deputy Attorney General of Pakistan
- Priya Manickchand, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Guyana
- Judge Elena de Nolasco, Supreme Court of Argentina
- Judge Sheikh Hamid Mubarak, Chief Justice, Circuit Court of Appeals of Bahrain
- Judge Nazmun Ara Sultana, Supreme Court of Bangladesh
- Judge Clotilde Medegan Nougbode, President, High Court of Justice of Benin
- Judge Georgina T. Wood Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Ghana
- Judge Georgina Mensah-Datsa, Supreme Court of Ghana
- Judge Agnes Galajda, Supreme Court of Hungary
- Judge Jamesetta Howard-Wolokolie, Supreme Court of Liberia
- Judge Salimatu Koroma, Court of Appeal, Sierra Leone
- Aparna Bhat, Advocate to the Supreme Court of India
- Simi Mor, Women's International Zionist Org. for an Improved Israeli Society
- Reem Abu Hassan, Jordanian Society for Protecting Victims of Family Abuse
- Dr. Haifa Shaker Abu Ghazaleh, National Council for Family Affairs, Jordan
- Dr. Hend Majed M. Alkhuthaila, Professor, King Saud University
- Authug Sultan M. Alshehail, Attorney at Law, Saudi Arabia
- Helen Kijo-Bisimba, Director, Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania
- Simone Susskind, President, Actions in the Mediterranean, Belgium
U.S. Federal Court Judges:
- Judge Janet Bond Arterton, United States District Court, District of Connecticut
- Judge Deborah Batts, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- Judge Bernice Bouie Donald, United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee
- Judge Arthur Gajarsa, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- Judge Nancy Gertner, United States District Court, District of Massachusetts
- Judge Robert Henry, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- Judge Peter Messitte, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
- Judge Vicki Miles-Lagrange, United States District Court, Western District of Oklahoma
- Judge Sandra Lynch, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- Judge Jeanette Ramos-Buonomo, Puerto Rico
- Judge Barbara Rothstein, Director, Federal Judicial Center
- Judge Mary Schroeder, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Judge Joanna Seybert, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
- Judge James T. Singleton, United States District Court for the District of Alaska
- Judge Ann Claire Williams, United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
- Judge John Walker, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
State Court Judges:
- Judge Shirley Abrahamson, Wisconsin Supreme Court
- Judge Leslie Alden, Fairfax County Circuit Court
- Judge Gill S. Freeman, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
- Judge Carol W. Hunstein, Supreme Court of Georgia
- Judge Elizabeth Jenkins, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- Judge Marcy Kahn, Supreme Court of the State of New York
- Judge Diane Kiesel, Supreme Court, Bronx County, New York
- Judge Brenda Stith Loftin, St. Louis County Circuit Court
- Judge Linda Ludgate, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge, Berks County, Pennsylvania
- Judge Barbara Mobley, State Court of DeKalb County, Georgia
- Judge Patricia A. Riley, Indiana Court of Appeals
- Judge Lee F. Satterfield, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
- Carol Kurzig, President, Avon Foundation
- Kim Azerrelli, Vice President, Associate General Counsel, Avon Products, Inc.
- Lorna Laemmie, Deputy Secretary, Avon Products Inc.
- Debbie Coffey, Vice President, Communications, Avon Products Inc.
- Dorothy Wisnioski, Corporate Counsel, Avon Products Inc.
- Barbara Barrett, United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
- Angela Conway, ABA Rule of Law Initiative
- Sue Else, President of the National Network to End Domestic Violence Fund
- Elizabeth Dallas, Public International Law and Policy Group
- Casey Gwinn, President of the National Family Justice Center Alliance
- Shaista Mahmood, Development in Literacy
- Michael Maya, Deputy Director, ABA Rule of Law Initiative
- Diana Negroponte, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Brookings Institute
- Cheryl O'Donnell, National Network to End Domestic Violence
- Ana Palacio Senior Vice President and World Bank Group General Counsel
- Joanne Sandler, Deputy Director for Programmes, UNIFEM
- Lynn Schafran, Senior Vice President, Legal Momentum
- Elizabeth Schneider, Brooklyn Law School
- Paula Stern, The Stern Group, Board Member, Avon Products Inc.
- Irene Klinger, Director, Department of External Relations, OAS
- Melanne Verveer, Co-Founder and Chairman, Vital Voices Global Partnership
- Joan D. Winship, Executive Director, International Association of Women Judges
Participants from the U.S Government:
- Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State for Women’s Empowerment
- John Bellinger, Legal Adviser, United States Department of State
- Andrea Bottner, Senior Coordinator for International Women’s Issues, United States Department of State
- Sasha Mehra, Deputy to the Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State for Women’s Empowerment
- Gerda Lane, Special Assistant and Coordinator to the Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State for Women’s Empowerment
- John Jassik, Bureau of International Information Programs
- Paul Denig, Bureau of International Information Programs
- Paula Donnolo, Assistant Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security