VAWG Helpdesk Programme Evaluation Support to Accountable Security and Justice in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a high priority for the UK Government. DFID supports UK Government objectives for a successful Middle East Peace Process by helping build institutions and promoting economic growth, so that any future state will be stable, prosperous, well run and an effective partner for peace with Israel. The World Bank, IMF and UN have all stated at recent Ad Hoc Liaison Committees that the PA is institutionally capable of statehood. However, in spite of the progress made by the PA on state-building in recent years, more reform is needed.
The multiple interventions combating Violence against women (VAW) in OPTs have remained scattered and are lacking a holistic approach. Numerous services for the prevention and protection of women victims and survivors of VAW are established in OPTs, while systems at the institutional level are still absent, particularly in the security sector and judiciary.
When the project started in 2011, VAW across the occupied territories was a serious concern for some time. A study commissioned by DFID at the time, as part of the design work for this programme recommended that DFID should mainstream attention to VAW across all its interventions in the security and justice sectors. Although the 2010 study concluded that reliable and up-to-date data on the scale of the problem was not available, a survey from 2005/6 showed that 23.3 per cent of Palestinian women reported physical violence by their spouses.
Furthermore, a survey conducted by Near East Consulting between July to October 2010 identified that 12 per cent of the surveyed population supported a husband beating his wife should she leave the home without his permission. DFID’s report identified interventions necessary to address VAW; this programme was designed according to these recommendations.
The current situation in the OPTs concerning VAW talks about lack of specialised services provided throughout the security and justice chain that may jeopardise the whole process and that fail to facilitate women’s access to justice. Attempting access to legal rights for women survivors of violence without a favourable social environment and in a situation of social disempowerment where awareness, capabilities development and opportunities for women are lacking, will hinder women’s access to justice and the chance to achieve a higher standard of life.
On the other hand, women’s growth in social status, if not supported by the durable enjoyment of legal rights, will likely remain precarious, with persisting risks of re- victimisation. The social environment and the existing legal frameworks can crucially play a favourable or unfavourable role.
The project is is formed of two components:
- To improve access to security and justice institutions for Women.
- To strengthen accountability of the security services at the level of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Interior.