Drawing upon the recommendations and guidance contained in the updated Model Strategies and Practical Measures, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UN Women, in cooperation with Thailand Institute of Justice, have drafted the Handbook on Effective Prosecution Responses to Violence against Women and Girls with a view to assist prosecutors in their duty to uphold the rule of law, firmly protect human rights and serve their community with impartiality and fairness in cases involving violence against women and girls.
Recognizing that prosecutors work in different legal systems, this Handbook is meant to be a resource to build on for individual prosecutors and prosecution services.
At the outset of the Handbook, it should be stressed that it includes information on aspects and requirements that may not fall within the role and functions of prosecutors in all national jurisdictions and legal systems, especially as regards interviewing and preparing the victim for trial, plea bargaining or the use of experts witnesses.
The Handbook is divided into three parts:
- Part One discusses current reflections, theories and research on violence against women and girls, the importance of the criminal justice response and some common misconceptions and myths surrounding sexual and gender-based violence.
- Part Two focuses on the role of a prosecutor in cases involving violence against women and girls. This part covers dealing with survivors, their role in investigations and the relationship with police, the decision to prosecute, the selection of charges, pre-trial considerations such as release pending trial and no contact orders, evidentiary issues, trial considerations, roles in sentencing and post-conviction, and restorative justice concerns.
- Part Three explores some of the institutional approaches that a prosecution agency can consider to ensure an effective response to violence against women and girls.