COVID-19 and access to justice for victims and survivors of violence against women and girls in East and Southern Africa.
This paper presents the findings related to COVID-19 and access to justice for women in East and Southern Africa. The findings are drawn from the multi-country study on access to justice for women and girls, including victims/survivors of violence in ten countries from East and Southern Africa. The countries studied include Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. This paper focuses on women's experiences with access to justice, including the forms of discrimination faced when seeking justice during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report has made specific recommendations regarding response and recovery for women during this pandemic. The study targeted various stakeholders from critical institutions dealing with and addressing issues of access to justice regionally or nationally, judicial personnel (such as judges, magistrates, lawyers and prosecutors, and police officers), local government administration officers, including chiefs and local elders, as well as traditional and religious leaders. Survivors and victims of gender-based violence were also interviewed in the data collection processes to enhance cross-referencing and corroboration of the case studies. This was done with consideration for survivor-centred and ethical data collection practices.