Challenges Facing Women in Accessing Justice in Mbooni Sub-county, Makueni County.
Mule, Juliet M
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This study explored the challenges facing women in accessing justice in Mbooni sub-county, Makueni County. Access to justice refers to the ability of people, in particular people from disadvantaged groups to seek legal remedy through formal and informal justice systems consistent with human rights principles. The study reviewed literature on the factors affecting women’s access to justice including socio-economic; availability of legal assistance and education levels. This study was based on a descriptive study primarily using qualitative analysis. The target population for the study was 200 women in Mbooni Sub-county who had accessed or tried to access justice, and for the key informants the study targeted 12 respondents from the sub-county office specifically the ward administrators and officers who handle matters of justice at the sub-county level; 2 prosecutors; 2 programme managers from 2 NGOs, 2 Area Chief’s and 4 lawyers. The research used simple random sampling to meet the required sample and purposive sampling for the Key informant interviews. The researcher used questionnaires with both structured and semi structured questions for data collection. The questionnaire was then administered with the help of five assistants who were trained on how to use it. The data collected was then analyzed quantitatively using the statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) version 23.0. The findings show that socio-economic factors like poverty deny women access to justice. The long processes it takes and resources required impede women from pursuing formal systems of justice. They are dependent on their husbands for provision, and resort to traditional systems of justice that encourage compensation from abusers. Lack of legal assistance to support women in pursuing justice also impedes their access to justice. Lack of information on where to get legal assistance, how to represent themselves in court; and lack of understanding of the available legal systems to enhance access to justice like applications to file cases as paupers also impede women’s access to justice. Illiteracy also affects women’s access to justice since they do not understand and thus insist on the enforcement of their rights. Low levels of education reduce access to economic resources. The study concludes that there is need to for awareness creation on the available mechanisms for legal assistance like organizations that provide pro bono services like FIDA, use of legal mechanisms to file cases as pauper. Women also need to be trained to understand, recognize and enforce their rights through the formal justice systems.
University of Nairobi
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