Legal Pluralism, Domestic, and Sexual violence: case studies of non-state justice in the Asia-Pacific region

Stream: Considering Context: how should we adapt methodologies and intervention strategies for different jurisdictions, communities and countries?
Date: Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Time: 10.15 am – 11.45 am


In the past decade the international community has acknowledged the importance of engaging with and strengthening informal (non-state) justice systems for the world’s poor and disadvantaged populations. Research by the Danish Institute of Human Rights (2012) has canvassed the strengths and limits of informal justice. Although comprehensive and well-considered, the report contains several contradictions on informal justice and violence against women and girls. It recommends that rape and sexual violence should be handled in the ordinary courts, but concludes that ‘women’s own attitudes and preferences are vital’; it offers no justification for why rape and sexual violence, but not domestic violence, should be handled in the ordinary courts; and the empirical basis for its recommendations is scant. My paper presents case studies of informal justice responses to domestic and sexual violence in the Asia-Pacific region. These show the potential of informal justice, particularly when animated by human rights and feminist principles. In developing a program of research on informal justice, attention must be paid to the significance of social, political, and geographical contexts; cultural and religious meanings; and the potential for innovation.


Kathleen Daly (Presenter), Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University
Kathleen Daly is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University (Brisbane). Her current research is on conventional and innovative justice responses to partner and sexual violence in different contexts of victimisation: individual, occupational-organisational, institutional, and collective. Her book, Redressing Institutional Abuse of Children (2014, Palgrave Macmillan), analyses 19 major cases of historical institutional abuse of children in Australia and Canada, with a focus on the processes and outcomes of redress schemes. Kathy has written or edited 6 books and over 85 journal articles and book chapters. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and the American Society of Criminology, and past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (2005-09).