Wider discriminatory contexts
- In addition to the concerns present when navigating judicial systems, the treatment of the petitioner by society, communities and the family may also be discriminatory. It is imperative that an individual who chooses to litigate their case is protected from revictimization by the public.
- There may be severe repercussions for women challenging the status quo through contentious, highly public court cases than there are for men. Female clients may experience greater pressure from their families not to go through with cases. This dynamic should be discussed at the outset, as client commitment is a key to success.
- There may be steps that are vital to a cases success which vulnerable or minority individuals, in particular, are unwilling to take. Reporting crimes to the police may be resisted out of fear based on past experiences. This is a common reaction when dealing with GBV or hate crimes against LGBTI individuals, particularly where non-heteronormative identities and issues such as GBV and trafficking are not recognized as crimes. It is important to be explicit with clients’ expectations and explain the need to exhaust domestic remedies in order for the case to progress, even if the judicial or police system is unwilling to help and may create further obstacles in clients’ lives, such as reinforcing practices of victim-blaming. Counselling is recommended throughout the process to assist in coping with potentially traumatic, but necessary steps in the litigation process.
- A same-sex marriage registered in a country of origin or transit may not be recognized in the country of refuge. This may present issues when litigating family cases and issues related to derivative status, particularly when such marriages include children.