Many victims do not report VAWG, not only because of the fear of reprisal or shame, but also often because of the complexity of the processes of access to justice and the cost of trials. For this reason, the role of the State in supporting victims and especially in providing legal assistance is essential.
In order to improve women’s access to legal aid, the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted in 2012 the UN Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems (67/187). The guidelines, which represent the first international instrument on the right to legal assistance, recommend providing legal aid, advice and court support services in all legal proceedings to female victims of violence in order to ensure access to justice and avoid secondary victimization and other such services, which may include the translation of legal documents where requested or required.
Except for Morocco and Tunisia which have comprehensive laws addressing VAWG, the other States offer legal assistance for those who are without means but not specifically for women victims of VAWG.