Aussie Help for Women’s Access to Justice

LEGIAN

A new report highlights issues women and poor communities throughout Indonesia face in accessing justice.

The report, Access to Justice: Empowering Female Heads of Household in Indonesia, produced by an Indonesian non-government organisation, highlights the issues faced by more than nine million Indonesian women who are the main breadwinners in their households.

The research was supported by the Australian government and the Family Court of Australia. It found more than half of those surveyed live on less than US$2 a day.

The report also found these women face many barriers in bringing their family law cases to Indonesia’s court system. This makes it difficult for them to file for divorce, legalise former marriages and, in turn, obtain birth certificates for children from these marriages with both parents’ names.

In Jakarta, Australia’s chargé d’affaires, Paul Robilliard, said Australia was committed to working with Indonesia to empower women, especially from poor and remote areas.

“Australia is committed to promoting women’s rights, including improving their access to justice and support services. We are proud to be to working with Indonesia to improve gender equality,” he said.

Australia welcomed the increased funding from the state budget to the Indonesian Supreme Court, which had helped more than 340 Religious Courts across Indonesia waive court fees for the poor and hold circuit courts in remote areas. “These mobile courts have quadrupled the number of poor women who have been able to access the courts,” Robilliard said.

Without this support, many of these women would not be able to afford to pay the transportation costs to reach the courts nor the court fees for their family law cases.

Having better access to the courts would help women receive legal documentation that acknowledges their role as female heads of households and give them better access to Indonesia’s programmes for the poor, such as cash grants and free health treatment.

“It will also help them obtain birth certificates for their children, so they can enrol in public schools,” Robilliard said.

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