Daphne Toolkit

WOSAFEJUS – Why Doesn’t She Press Charges? Understanding and Improving Women’s Safety and Right to Justice

Project Reference Number: 
JUST/2008-1/199 - JLS/2008/CFP/DAP/2008-1

WOSAFEJUS – Why Doesn’t She Press Charges? Understanding and Improving Women’s Safety and Right to Justice


The project is based on the observation that a significant part of women suffering violence in family context do not press charges and that criminal justice system fails to provide them protection and justice. The aim was to improve women's rights to justice and protection. Targets were professionals of the criminal justice system, lawyers and women's advocates.


The project involved the Judiciary in the topic of Intimate Partner Violence. It achieved new data on judicial practices of intervention through court files analysis and ethnographic observation in Court. Through women’s interviews awareness was raised - especially among professionals - of what women want from the Criminal justice system, of their requests and existing prejudices. There is a need to make the judiciary and the police forces aware of the relevance of monitoring the cases of Intimate partner violence that go through the system, to be able to detect good and bad practices. Women victim of IPV were pleased with having a chance to say what have been their experiences with the law.


The activities within the project covered secondary statistical analysis of data coming from Violence Against Women Surveys and Victim Surveys on violence by partners and ex-partners; collection of Databases from the USA, Canada, Australia and Switzerland on violence against women; Women's in depth interviews; court files analysis to describe how the criminal justice systems work in practice in case of intimate partnership violence and to identify differences as well as eventual discriminations in the application of the criminal law and ethnographic observation and in-depth interviews with professionals. The results of the research work are described in 4 national reports which present the national context, describe the data collection and provide analysis of this data.


To raise awareness 5 conferences took place with the participation of professionals and in particular judges and lawyers. Ten Trainings and seminars were held, which were the most successful activities of the project. Therefore a training package (Intimate Partner Violence: Women’s Access to Safety and Justice.  A Training Pack to support Professionals Working With and Within the Criminal Justice System) with many exercises and guidelines for trainers was developed and translated in all partner countries' languages (EN, RO, IT and ES). The training package was published in 125 copies in each country and is available on the project website: http://www.wosafejus.org/. To present the outcome of the research activities a book (If women would press charges) was published. The book is adapted in each country: one chapter presents the research carried out in the country concerned. The book is sold in libraries (published in 400 copies in Italian, Spanish and English and 250 copies in Romanian).


In addition to the foreseen activities, the project indirectly promoted the constitution of a new multiagency forum on intimate partnership violence (IPV) with the participation of judges, prosecutors, emergency room directors. Participants to this forum met several times and wrote a multi-agency protocol of intervention in IPV cases.



- new original data on the criminal justice system response to women suffering violence

- involvement of  both academics and professionals in the enterprise and in the discussion of the research results;

- promotion of  the constitution of a new multiagency forum with the participation on the topic of IPV, institutions: judges, prosecutors, emergency room directors. They met 10 times and wrote a multi agency protocol of intervention in IPV cases.

- good professional participation during public events;

- interviewee women were quite grateful to have the chance to talk of their experiences with the justice system to try to make it better ;

- contribution to challenge taken for granted positions on the topic through training, conferences, seminars and publications



Material available

- Training packet which include Guide Lines and the book.  The book will be sold in bookshops in all partner countries

- new training packet with Guide lines included to be proposed as a training tool to trainers inside and outside the targeted agencies

- project web site