I. Justice Education Society
The Justice Education Society of British Columbia (JES) is a Canadian non-profit organization with over 30 years of experience advancing the rule of law by empowering people to access and deliver justice through increasing legal capability, strengthening justice systems and developing digital solutions. JES currently implements programs and has offices in Canada, Guyana, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama, and also works in Costa Rica, Colombia, and El Salvador. In the near future, JES will establish an office in Castries, Saint Lucia to implement programs in Saint Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. JES has diverse sources of funding including donors and provincial, federal, and overseas governments. More information on JES is available at: www.JusticeEducation.ca.
II. Background Information
In Guyana, one of two (1 of 2) women experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime1 – a statistic which placed the country at the top of the list for domestic violence rates in a country not currently engaged in war or armed conflict. Further, national and United Nations data and reports, as well as JES’ desk research and in-country diagnostic study in 2020, confirm substantial barriers for women and girls – and Indigenous women and girls in particular – to access justice in Guyana.
While a legal framework exists to protect the rights of Guyanese women and girls, the processes within that system have limited provisions to ensure equal access to justice for all. The Committee of Experts of the Convention of Belém do Pará (2012) highlighted gaps such as the absence of statistics on violence against women and the absence of provisions to protect against violence against women.
While more than 2000 police officers have been exposed to training in the provisions of the legislation, according to the Guyana National Report on the 25th anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women (2020) the application of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) and the Sexual Offences Act (SOA) at all levels of police remains a challenge. In the CEDAW Committee’s concluding observations in the 9th Guyana Report, enforcement is highlighted as being weak, particularly in relation to discrimination and gender-based violence (GBV) offences. CEDAW points to the “lack of systematic and mandatory capacity-building for law enforcement personnel, border police and social workers on gender-sensitive guidelines for interviewing victims, as well as on the early identification of trafficking victims and their referral to appropriate services”. The report recommends that sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) be an integral part of the mandatory training for police officers, prosecutors, lawyers, and the judiciary. Women and girls also highlighted issues with the police and frontline workers when reporting cases of violence during stakeholder meetings and surveys conducted during the JES diagnostic study in 2020.
Further, the successful prosecution of perpetrators remains very low in part due to challenges with proper investigations of SGBV cases and the courts’ access to quality forensic and DNA evidence. At an institutional level, there is limited comprehension of the vulnerability of Indigenous populations, and limited skills, services, and programs to ensure access to justice for remote Indigenous communities. There is little to no training for police, prosecutors, or the judiciary to help them deal with cases that involve Indigenous individuals, especially female victims, who are susceptible to re-victimization. Remote communities also pose other challenges to law enforcement in a number of areas. Many participants in the JES 2020 Diagnostic Study felt that there was general impunity for perpetrators of SGBV in their communities.
III. The Project
JES continues to expand its successful work with justice operators in Guyana to improve technical skills and building the capacity of agencies for the strategic response, investigation, and prosecution of crimes. Through its current project, Strengthening Justice to Women, Girls and Indigenous Peoples, JES delivers greater equality in access to justice for women and girls throughout Guyanese society, and to empower Indigenous women and girls to be less vulnerable to violence.
This four-year project aims to deliver greater equality in access to justice for women and girls in Guyana, especially in remote Indigenous communities, by:
- building the technical capacity of justice actors to respond to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) targeting women and girls, through training and assistance for the Guyana Police Force (GPF), Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and the judiciary; and
- by running a pilot project in Region 1 (Barima-Waini) to build capacity of service providers, Indigenous women and leaders, women’s groups and civil society organizations (CSOs) to deliver gender-transformative and rights-based public legal education, and coordinate with strengthened remote police detachments, to respond to SGBV against women and girls.
The focus of the project at the national level is to reduce impunity for violence against women and girls (sexual violence, homicides, gender-based assaults, inter alia) while at the local level, to improve access to justice for Indigenous women, girls, and peoples. By improving both the access of women and girls to justice institutions as well as the actual capacity of the justice system to respond to SGBV, the project will empower women and girls to exercise their rights and support a more inclusive, gender-responsive and culturally aware access to justice.
To achieve these outcomes, JES applies a Gender-Based Analysis plus (GBA+) perspective throughout the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the Project, integrating a combination of sensitivity and awareness training related to gender issues into all curricula and activities, including on:
- Gender bias and cultural sensitivity
- Major case management and investigations
- Interviewing skills for victims of sexual and gender-based violence
- Preparation of victims for court appearances
- Developing and adopting checklists and quality assurance protocols.
The objectives of this consultancy are:
- Act as an advisor to the project on international standards and best practices for investigative and legal procedures and approaches to cases of SGBV incorporating a gender, human rights, victim-centered and trauma-informed approach, including in planning, communications, facilitating, reporting, and addressing issues.
- To provide basic training to bolster the capacity of members of the GPF to improve the response and management of SGBV cases, and to work with justice-related institutions to develop tools to improve organizational operations and standardize the operating procedures.
- To work with the project team and other consultants where necessary, to develop strategies to ensure that methodologies bolster human rights and are trauma-informed and gender-responsive in their implementation.
V. Scope of work
The Consultant will report to the Project Director and work collaboratively with a Gender Expert and stakeholders in the field (if public health conditions allow), including intermediaries and beneficiaries, for which JES will provide the relevant contacts and the resources to conduct field visits. The consultant will perform the following activities:
- Contribute to the development and or revision of training manuals and curricula for senior Guyana Police Force (GPF) members: supervisors, frontline officers, and investigators, to ensure international standards and best practices for police and judicial procedures and approaches can be localized and adopted in SGBV cases.
- Review materials and curricula, integrate concepts, facilitate trainings and/or workshops, and make suggestions to the project from a trauma-informed, victim-centered, and human rights perspective while ensuring international standards and best practices for police and judicial procedures and approaches are incorporated.
- Facilitate the development of checklists and quality assurance protocol in the areas of first response to improve SGBV case management and processing.
- Provide timely work plans and activity reports.
- Actively participate in internal and external meetings and conduct trainings and workshops with justice actors, as needed.
The consultancy will achieve the following results:
- Conduct a diagnostic on the investigative capacity of the GBV units and regional sexual offence units to respond to cases of SGBV within the pilot areas. The consultant would be expected to conduct an interactive workshop on the operationalization and management of a well-functioning SGBV unit(s) (process mapping).
- Identify gaps and develop gender-responsive and trauma-informed approaches and improvements in the process of report taking in cases of SGBV, including revision of training materials, procedures, and curricula with the aim of developing checklists for conducting strong interviews, and providing GPF training (ToT) and coaching in initial report taking.
- Support the GPF to develop quality assurance mechanisms/tools for report taking using a trauma-informed approach in cases of SGBV through collaborating with the GPF to develop a quality assurance protocol. The consultant would be expected to support the orientation of GPF officers in the implementation and use of the protocol and provide technical assistance to the GPF to develop monitoring mechanism for QA/QI.
- Provide GPF training and coaching in first-response to criminal investigations using a gender-sensitive and trauma-informed approach in cases of SGBV. The consultant would be expected to review and revise any existing training materials that address the fundamentals of SGBV and the law; conducting training on crime scene management, and how to provide care for SGBV survivors, including risk assessments for women and children.
- Deliver fundamentals course in SGBV facilitated by leaders in the GPF SGBV and sexual offence units.
The selected consultant must have, at minimum, the following knowledge, skills, experience, and competencies:
- Minimum Bachelor’s Degree (or equivalent) in relevant area (law enforcement, criminology, social studies, judicial sciences, gender studies, etc.).
- Experience training professionals, preferably police and other law enforcement personnel, government, or justice sector professionals, in how to minimize bias in their work, increase gender awareness and the application of a trauma-informed approach that minimizes revictimization.
- Knowledge of best practices in first response and investigations of SGBV.
- Knowledge of analytical methods and tools for mainstreaming gender in justice sector practices and procedures.
- Display intersectional sensibility and adaptability.
- Ability to act with tact and diplomacy, and display cultural sensitivity.
- Ability and willingness to travel to and within Guyana and work in remote hinterland communities.
- Experience working with Indigenous communities and/or in remote regions, is an asset.
VIII. Terms of Payment
A schedule of payments will be agreed upon with the consultant, based on the delivery and approval of her/his reports.
Location: Remotely with possible travel to Guyana
Start Date: October 15, 2023
End Date: March 31, 2024
1 Women’s Health and Life Experiences Survey (WHLES) of Guyana, published by UN Women, November 2019, conducted by United Nations Women, UNDP, United States Agency for International Development, IDB, Global Women’s Institute, and the University of Guyana.
How to apply
Applicants must submit the following documents in English to [email protected], no later than Sunday, September 25, 2023, at 23:59HRS EST:
- A letter of interest highlighting relevant experience and qualifications, describing an understanding of the assignment and challenges.
- CV of the consultant.
- A financial proposal, restricted to honorarium (any travel expenses outside of Georgetown will be reimbursed separately by the project).