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The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has provided a submission to the Department of Justice consultation on the proposed strategy to support and challenge women and girls in contact with the justice system.

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NIHRC reponse to the Department of Justice proposed strategy to support and challenge women and girls in contact with the justice system

Last Updated: Monday, 19 April 2021

Submission: Proposed strategy to support and challenge women and girls in contact with the justice system

Date produced March 2021.

Below is a summary of the recommendations.

You can also download the full document through the links provided.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC):

  • The Commission would recommend that the strategy is provided with ring fenced resources and includes clear goals, targets and timelines to ensure a way in which to measure improvement.
  • The Commission recommends that the proposed strategy prioritises measures to ensure the wider use of non-custodial measures as an alternative to imprisonment, in particular as an alternative to short term custodial sentences.
  • The Commission recommends that the strategy references the need for the delivery of a separate custodial facility for women prisoners in NI and any necessary support to ensure its completion.
  • The Commission recommends that the strategy considers the findings of the Criminal Justice Inspectorate NI and ensure facilities and conditions in detention meet the healthcare needs of women.
  • The Commission recommends that the proposed strategy include effective steps to ensure that women immigration detainees are safe and have the option of gender-specific communal areas.
  • The Commission recommends that in order to support women and girls in contact with the criminal justice system that the Gillen Review recommendations must be implemented and this should be a key element of the Strategy.
  • The Commission recommends the strategy consider the recommendations of the UN CEDAW Committee for addressing issues within the justice system on the exploitation of women and girls through prostitution.
  • The Commission recommends the strategy include measures to ensure that training is provided to those working throughout the criminal justice system including the judiciary, police officers and prison staff to understand issues that affect women and girls in the justice system ensuring a gender sensitive approach.
Proposed strategy to support and challenge women and girls in contact with the justice system PDF