Consultancy to Develop a Costed Strategy for Institutionalized Specialist Justice System and Structure for Management cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women and girls.

Advertised on behalf of :

Location : Kampala, UGANDA
Application Deadline :29-Jun-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Gender Equality
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :2 Months
Expected Duration of Assignment :2 Months

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

Article 126 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides for the mandate of the Judiciary which is: judicial power is derived from the people and shall be exercised by the Courts established under this Constitution in the name of the people and in conformity with the law and with the values, norms, and aspirations of the people. The Judiciary is independent in the exercise of its functions, and this has been strengthened with the enactment of the Administration of the Judiciary Act, 2020 which seeks to give effect to the constitutional provisions. The Judiciary has implemented several interventions seeking to enhance access to justice for survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) including:

In April 2013, the Judiciary issued Sentencing Guidelines to provide discretionary sentencing ranges for judges to use in determining appropriate sentences for selected capital and non-capital offences (The Constitution (Sentencing Guidelines for Courts of Judicature) (Practice) Directions, 2013. The Sentencing Committee, chaired by the Principal Judge and with the Technical Advisor to the Judiciary serving as secretary, are also developing guidelines for additional lesser offences, the new guidelines have not yet been issued) and to provide a “mechanism for considering the interests of victims of crime and the community and to promote consistency and transparency in sentencing. (Uganda Judiciary: Recommended Sector Priorities to Improve Women’s Access to Justice and Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls, UN Women and CEDOVIP, 2018). Limited relationship between the established Judicial Sentencing Guidelines and plea negotiations (charges and sentencing) has resulted into negotiations becoming discretionary and including inherent biases and attitudes (including discriminatory attitudes) held by judicial officers and state attorneys.  This has led to overly lenient plea agreements being unfair to victims and failure to consider the gravity of the offence and the importance of passing deterrent sentences (Report on Situational Analysis of National, Global and Regional Practices regarding implementation of victim – centered, gender sensitive and human rights-based plea bargaining, UN Women, Emmanuel Kasimbazi and Dora Kanabahita, 2021)

  • In May 2014, the Judiciary initiated the plea-bargaining initiative in Uganda’s High Courts to address crippling criminal case backlog, reduce pre-trial detention of accused persons and to increase the role and participation of victims in the process. To this end the Judiciary has organized camps where accused persons in prisons are sensitized, registered for the process, and their files are shared with the students for assessment and prior preparations. For example, at least 300 capital cases have been concluded in Gulu because of the Plea-Bargaining Prison Camp in June 2020 (Kasimbazi and Kanabahita, 2021) However, the sentencing and plea-bargaining framework has been implemented in a gender blind and perpetrator centred manner,  thereby undermining public confidence in the justice system (Negotiating Gender Justice: An Assessment of Plea Bargaining in Cases of Violence Against Women and Girls in the High Court of Uganda, UN Women and CEDOVIP, 2018). To optimize the potential benefits of plea bargaining and in ending impunity for offenders, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is developing gender sensitive, victim – centered and human rights based plea bargaining guidelines for use by prosecutors in plea bargained cases.  
  • In 2018, Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) with support from UNFPA piloted special court sessions to clear the backlog of GBV cases in selected High and Chief Magistrates Courts ( The sessions were conducted in thirteen (13) selected Courts both in the High Courts and Chief Magistrates Courts in  Mukono High Court, Mbale High Court, Masaka High court, Bushenyi High Court/ Mbarara High Court, Gulu High Court, Moroto High Court, Soroti High Court, and the Chief Magistrates Court in Nabweru, Iganga, Kapchwora, Lira, Sironko and Iganga)
  • The Judiciary has held numerous plea-bargaining sessions, disposing of more than 6,000 cases and saving the Judiciary an estimated 1.7 billion UGX. Recommendations from the GBV sessions emphasized the need to expedite the setting up of a special court system or procedure at all court levels to provide effective prosecution and adjudication of GBV, increase the reporting and conviction rates, reduce delays and secondary victimisation for survivors.
  • The Judicial Training Institute with support from UN Women has developed a training manual for judicial officers on effective management of GBV and Violence Against Children (VAC) cases.
  • ODPP has also received support from UN Women to complete a Multi-Sectoral Handbook for Victim-Centred Investigation, Prosecution, and Adjudication of GBV Cases
  • The International Justice System with support from UN Women, UNICEF and UNDP has developed a Training of Trainers Manual on Effective Investigation, Prosecution and Adjudication of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and VAC
  • In terms of capacity building to effectively manage GBV cases training of justice actors including judicial officers, state attorneys, police officers including of the criminal investigation department, probation officers, health workers, etc, to handle survivors in a gender sensitive, victim centered, and trauma informed manner has been undertaken using handbooks, SOPs and training manuals. To date 288 judicial officers, prosecutors, police officers (F=153: M=135) have been trained with support from UN Women, UNICEF and UNDP



GBV remains rampant throughout Uganda, not only violating the human rights of victims, but also severely undermining the nation’s economic and social development. Domestic violence, rape, and defilement are consistently some of the highest crimes reported to the police in Uganda. High numbers of SGBV cases are reported to the justice system, but there is a low level of case disposal which has led to a significant case backlog. For example, of the 1,335 cases of rape reported to the UPF in 2017, less than 30% were brought to court and 1.5% of those brought to court resulted in a conviction. Of the 14,985 defilement cases reported to the UPF in 2017, less than 31% were taken to court and 13% of those taken to court resulted in a conviction. Of the 15,325 cases of domestic violence reported to the Police in 2018, only 17% were brought to court, only 24% of which resulted in convictions. A slight improvement was seen in the conviction rates for GBV cases in 2019: domestic violence was 28%, followed by defilement at 15% and rape was 2%.

Lengthy procedures and systemic gaps in the justice system and weak legal enforcement further discourage women from seeking help and reporting these crimes. The challenges to case disposal include slow processes, capacity (logistical and technical) challenges, negative attitude and social factors, and the vulnerability of survivors of violence. It is important to note that while delays impact on justice in all cases, this is particularly true in GBV cases, where victims experience significant shame and societal pressure to hide the abuse and pressure from family, community, and the public justice system itself—through violence, threats, intimidation, victim-shaming and negative cultural norms—to withdraw from the system and ‘forgive’ the perpetrator; the issue of “consensual defilement” cases congesting the system pointing towards a need for legislative reform at some point (persons below 18 cannot have consensual intercourse in Uganda without committing a capital offense); weak quality of investigation (transport, equipment), gaps in the collection of evidence; Police using mediation in criminal cases (which is against the law) and; social and cultural norms leading parents to press charges as a means to extort money from the alleged perpetrator. Other than poverty (92%), the main reasons women and girls do not report incidents of violence are lengthy formal justice procedures (87%) and weak enforcement of the laws (79%). Before the onset of GBV sessions the average time taken to dispose of a GBV case was more than 1 month and average time spent by offenders on remand would be 2 years. Swifter justice improves safety, enhance victim participation, and reduces the pressure to withdraw the cases.



Victims of GBV are globally recognized as particularly vulnerable and face grave challenges when coming into contact with the justice system. They can be reluctant participants in the court process because of the deeply personal and intimate character of the offences, the nature of relationship to the defendant and the high levels of trauma suffered. These factors also impact on the evidence given, and thus the outcomes of cases. Insensitive treatment by officials and fear of the perpetrator also affects reporting and participation rates.

Special courts and procedures are a commonly used tool globally to address these issues, provide efficient and sensitive adjudication of GBV cases and enhance justice for women and girls. Moreover, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Kampala Declaration of 2011 mandates partner governments to establish special courts and procedures for dealing with SGBV and the Kigali International Conference Declaration Mandates States to establish one stop SGBV centres as part of the specialist and victim-friendly service delivery approach.



The overall purpose of this assignment is to develop a costed strategy for institutionalisation of GBV courts in Uganda detailing the various costed options and advising on the modality most suitable for Uganda in view of the prevailing context. The strategy should also include the business case for a specialized justice system from entry to exit, that is, the Police to Prisons, for handling GBV cases against women and girls.


Assignment Objectives:

  • Establish the extent to which the justice system has evolved in terms of handling GBV against women and girls.
  • Provide strategic guidance for the institutionalization of GBV Courts and the entire justice system (Uganda Police Force (UPF), Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), Department of the Government Analytical Laboratory (DGAL), Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) in Uganda and determine associated costs for actualization of the Strategy.
  • Establish a scheme for the comprehensive categorizations of GBV offenses and processes for their detection in the justice system. Which offenses qualify as GBV cases? What are the criteria? And what is the process for screening files to detect these cases?
  • Identify the following:
    • measures that will have to be adopted by the justice system to ensure that victims of GBV are handled in a gender sensitive, victim-centered and trauma informed approach by police, prosecution, judicial officers and the corresponding administrative staff and health workers.
    • The role that can be played by Probation and Social Welfare Officers and organisations working on prevention and response to GBV of in terms supporting survivors access quality services.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of the Programme Specialist- Access to Justice at UN Women, with technical support from the Permanent Secretary (PS) Judiciary and Chief Registrar, the consultant will:

  • Review all literature related to institutionalization of GBV courts globally in particular South Africa Liberia, Zimbabwe, Australia, United States and Botswana including the SGBV sessions in Uganda being supported by UNFPA and ADC to get a gist of the key components of an institutionalised specialist justice system and structure for adjudicating cases of GBV against women and girls.
  • Review relevant international, regional, and national instruments and laws respectively on GBV against women and girls and identify principles which should be integrated in the institutionalised system.
  • Conduct consultations with the representatives from Government institutions (Judiciary, ODPP, UPF, Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MGLSD), JLOS Secretariat; Uganda Prisons Service; selected high court judges and the Chief Magistrates; Registrars, relevant representatives of UPF and Resident in the selected court circuits) UN agencies (UN Women, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, RC), NGOs (including WROs), JLOS Development Partners’ Group and other development actors, including the donor community.
  • Hold focus group discussions with women GBV victims and witnesses in GBV cases.
  • Develop a comprehensive list outlining all categories of GBV offenses (e.g. under which circumstances can “assault” be classified as a GBV offense) and related processes for detection of such cases in the justice system.
  • Recommend the costed specialised system that should be adopted by the Judiciary which should include but not limited to the following:
    • Reforms that must be taken by the specialized units for victims of GBV (ODPP, UPF) in terms of strengthening their capacities to effectively and efficiently manage GBV cases against women and girls.
    • Identify where the specialist system should be located across the Judiciary.
    • Measures that could be adopted to ensure that there is a consistent gender sensitive, victim-centred and trauma-informed approach across all GBV cases against women and girls.
    • Criteria of crimes to be included in specialised court, division, or list including how these cases will be detected and captured in the justice process.
    • A case flow scheme depicting the recommended specialized flow of GBV cases through the justice system.
    • Mechanisms to ensure prioritization and expedited management and disposal of GBV cases.
    • Role that can be played by the DCC to ensure accountability and effective coordination of the specialist system.
    • A mechanism for ensuring debriefing and support for staff within the specialist system to address the stress and vicarious trauma associated with consistent exposure to GBV cases.
    • The role that can be played by Probation and Social Welfare Officers and organisations working on prevention and response to GBV of in terms supporting survivors access quality services.
    • An M&E component to track progress on implementation of the strategy.
  • Conduct a validation workshop and refine the strategy for institutionalization of GBV courts.

Key Deliverables/Time Frame/Payment percentage

  • Inception and Analysis Report of the desk review and Consultations - Carry out desk review; design methodology and workplan (in Gantt chart format); and conduct inception conversation with relevant Government, UN and Donor partners within 7 days after signature of contract (Inception Report) - 20%;
  • Report of the validation workshop highlighting the recommendations for the draft strategy - Review all literature related to institutionalization of GBV courts as well as instruments, laws on GBV globally and conduct consultations, gather    relevant information, and undertake analysis in line with  Scope of Work section, detailed objectives and tasks; and Present to a project technical team     findings and recommendations as well as the draft strategy in preparation for a stakeholders’ meeting within 35 days – 65%
  • Detailed and costed strategy for Institutionalized Specialist Justice System and Structure for management of cases of GBV against women and girls which should provide for the effective investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of GBV offences - Integrate recommended changes from stakeholder consultation meeting into report and produce    final report with a detailed and costed strategy within 5 days – 15%


  • UN Women and the Judiciary will provide the consultant with background materials related to the assignment.
  • UN Women will provide the consultant with the space and access to institutional documents as necessary, to undertake the assignment.
  • UN Women will pay a daily subsistence allowance and car hire to facilitate the consultations.
  • The assignment may be undertaken by a team composed of three persons or an individual with the competencies indicated below:-


Core Values:

  • Respect for Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism

Core Competencies:

  • Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
  • Accountability
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Effective Communication
  • Inclusive Collaboration
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Leading by Example

Required Skills and Experience


Master’s (or equivalent) or higher Degree in Criminal Justice, Law, Human Rights, Gender, International Relations, or related field


  • Minimum of 7 years of relevant professional experience in developing legal or policy documents and in   operationalized research on justice systems.
  • Proven Knowledge and skills in conducting strategic planning processes.
  • Experience working in social norm change, survivor centered case management of GBV against women and girls would be a distinct advantage.
  • Working experience in/on the justice system of a developing country, specifically in sub- Saharan/East Africa would be an asset.
  • Experience in conducting consultations with diverse stakeholders to elicit actionable information would be an asset.
  • Ability to easily communicate with stakeholders from all social economic backgrounds.

Language requirements

  • Fluency in oral and written English is required.
  • Knowledge of another official United Nations language is desirable.

Application Procedure

Interested qualified individual consultants should submit their online applications not later than 29 June 2021.

Candidates should submit one PDF File attachment containing:

  1. a letter of interest,
  2. Technical and financial proposal.
  3. Personal CV and
  4. UN Women P11 dully filled form with at least three (3) professional references (UN Women Personal History Form (P11), can be downloaded at:;


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