Initiative: “Removing Barriers for Access to Justice of Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Women”14-dic-2017
Within the framework of the 2017 Innovation Facility, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Argentina has been chosen to work on seeking comprehensive solutions to the obstacles which prevent Deaf and hearing-impaired women victims of gender-based violence from accessing justice. The Innovation Facility was launched by UNDP with the financial support of the Government of Denmark in June 2014, and was designed to offer technical and financial support to organizations as well as to experiment innovative approaches to increasingly complex human development challenges.
In Argentina, assistance services for gender-based violence victims which are qualified for providing guidance and support to Deaf women are almost non-existent. It is estimated that many women may need this kind of support, though only a few of them receive it; either because such services do not provide the solution they require, or because, despite being gender-based violence victims, they do not know that their rights are being violated and that they may seek legal aid in order to reverse this situation. Moreover, there are no statistics available to assess the extent of this problem.
Given this scenario, UNDP has convened the National Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, through the Under-Secretary of Access to Justice, and the civil society organizations which carry out the “Sordas Sin Violencia” Program to work in a collaborative and innovative manner, based on the following assumptions:
If authorities and legal aid services recognize and understand the specific needs of Deaf and hearing-impaired women victims of gender-based violence, then they will respond more effectively and provide higher quality of services.
If Deaf and hearing-impaired women victims of gender-based violence comprehend their rights and feel that they are receiving an adequate treatment from these services, then they will seek more assistance and legal aid.
The initiative was created as an opportunity to collectively learn and discuss different perspectives and opinions, which, in a near future may eventually transform and adapt public policies to make them truly inclusive.
For its implementation, this initiative has been framed within the project ARG/16/022 “Fostering SDGs through access to justice of people in vulnerable situations”, implemented by the Under-Secretary of Access to Justice and supported by UNDP Argentina. Work had already begun to develop relevant instruments, tools and protocols that include the needs of Deaf and hearing-impaired women victims of gender-based violence both in the project and in other access to justice national programs.
This initiative is inspired in the path travelled by the “Sordas Sin Violencia” Program, carried out by civil society organizations; namely, FUNDASOR and Enlaces Territoriales para la Equidad de Género. This program is the only device specifically created to support and facilitate access to justice by Deaf and hearing-impaired women victims of gender-based violence. Additionally, with the support of this initiative, “Sordas Sin Violencia” is carrying out a sensitization campaign with the aim of raising awareness on gender-based violence within the Deaf community, so that women may are more aware and have more knowledge about their rights. By screening and discussing the film titled “Refugiado” (directed by D. Lerman and subtitled as part of this initiative) and conducting awareness workshops on the different forms of violence, to pave the way for identifying and facing gender-based violence as a problem in the community.
The initiative “Removing Barriers for Access to Justice of Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Women” proposes an innovative approach to promoting and protecting women’s rights. At this early stage, the expectation is to build awareness and reach a consensus, which later could scale up this sort of interventions. Thus, it is expected to find creative solutions so that access to justice public policies may effectively include all people, taking into account their interests and needs.