26 November 2015
JSMP Launches Report About Application of Alternative Sentencing in Domestic Violence Cases in the Oe-cusse District Court
Monitoring conducted by the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) as part of USAID’s Ba Distrito Project shows that cases of domestic violence continue to represent the highest number of cases in the Oe-cusse court, according to a new report launched today in the Municipal Administration buildings in Oe-cusse.
The thematic report, Application of Alternative Sentences in Domestic Violence Cases in the Oe-cusse District Court, shows that JSMP monitored 151 domestic violence cases from a total of 257 total cases in the Oe-cusse District Court during 19 months, from March 2014 to September 2015.
The monitoring and production of the report were made possible by USAID’s Ba Distrito Project, which is generously supported by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The report focuses on statistics and case studies from the Oe-cusse District Courts and show sentencing trends in domestic violence cases during the period of monitoring.
“The trends in sentencing that are discussed in this report give useful references to the courts about difficulties in determining sentences which are appropriate in cases of domestic violence. However, the courts need to look at all circumstances, including sentencing principles, specific requirements for each type of sentence, and unique factors in each case, to ensure the objective of preventing violence, and guaranteeing the safety of the victim,” said JSMP Executive Director, Mr. Luis Oliveira Sampaio.
From the total number of domestic violence cases which JSMP monitored in the Oe-cusse District Court, only nine percent (9%) involved female suspects. In relation to sentencing, 58 percent (53%) of the total domestic violence cases which JSMP monitored in the Oe-cusse District Court received a suspended sentence, and 36 percent (36%) of total cases received a fine.
When domestic violence crimes are brought to the courts, the courts are not able to conduct mediation. Statistics also show that passing the Law Against Domestic Violence is not enough to stop domestic violence. Domestic violence will continue to happen often if there is no coordinated effort from all actors, including the courts and the prosecutors.
The report also shares insights on the courts and judges, who have an importante role in this context, because they have the responsibility to make decisions in domestic violence cases according to the principles defined in the Penal Code (Decree Law No. 29/2009).
“The monitoring work done by JSMP provides important insight into how courts are currently dealing with domestic violence cases. This information is valuable not only to court actors but also to the government, civil society organizations and other service providers who can use it to better determine how they can work together to ensure justice for victims and perpetrators. It builds community confidence in the formal justice system’s ability to respond to domestic violence when information about outcomes of court cases is shared” said Counterpart International’s Carolyn Tanner, Chief of Party for Ba Distrito Project.
Analysis in this report is a continuation of the analysis which JSMP conducted previously about accusations, sentences, and executing sentences in cases of domestic violence, through JSMP’s thematic report, Law Against Domestic Violence: Three years of Implementation and its obstacles.