United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute
Viale Maestri del Lavoro, 10. 10127 Turin, Italy
The mandate of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) is to contribute, through research, training, field activities and the collection, exchange and dissemination of information, to the formulation and implementation of improved policies in the field of crime prevention and control, due regard being paid to the integration of such policies within the broader policies for socio-economic change and development, and the protection of human rights.
Areas of Focus
UNICRI’s activities are developed in accordance with the priorities indicated by the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Recently, UNICRI has devoted specific attention to the issue of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, for the purpose of sexual exploitation In the past, UNICRI has also carried out activities in the field of domestic violence prevention and control.
Since 2010, with the support of Italy, UNICRI has been developing a programme to enhance gender mainstreaming in substance use prevention, treatment and recovery strategies. In collaboration with other UN agencies such as UNODC and WHO, UNICRI has promoted awareness raising activities, good practices and data collection on enhancing the access to health and social services for vulnerable groups, in particular women and girls for recovery from substance use and related phenomena, including violence and sexual abuse. The focus has been on the social determinants influencing the health and social disparities in vulnerable groups.
In 2014 UNICRI conducted a study to assess the gendered impact of the financial, political and social crisis, and provide more data about its consequences for women, focusing on domestic violence, discrimination, access to justice and welfare services. Documented case studies were collected from the grassroots level of four countries from the Mediterranean basin: France, Spain, Italy and Greece.
Moreover, within the programme on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in Sahel Maghreb, UNICRI has provided financial support through micro grants to 60 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for the implementation of innovative approaches to prevent radicalization and violent extremism. CSOs have been selected through a pre-identified criteria that included gender equality considerations as part of their project proposals and in their managerial procedures. As result of the selection process, UNICRI works in close collaboration as women associations, as Reseau Femme-Solidarité-Developpment (RFSD) in Mauritania, Fanny Raghman Anni in Tunisia, and supports the implementation of innovative approaches as the training to imams by women preachers to promote the rights of women in religious discourses (Foundation Tlili).
A Report on “The Impacts of the Crisis on Gender Equality and Women’s Wellbeing in European Union (EU) Mediterranean Countries” was prepared with the involvement of researchers from France, Greece, Italy and Spain. The report included the findings of the gendered impact of the crisis and its consequences for women in the EU Mediterranean Basin.
This study was intended to address the gap in the research about gendered impacts of the economic crisis at national and regional levels and to contribute to the Post-2015 development framework.
It provided insights on the impact of economic downturn on women’s well-being and supported the strategy for promoting women’s rights and gender equality, with a view of attaining the MDGs for 2015. It also explored possible strategies, which can help to minimize risks and alleviate vulnerable situations.
Implementation of training, capacity building and raise awareness activities for the prevention of Violent Extremism, in which women, as key actor of the local communities play an active and important role.
In June 2016, UNICRI carried out a survey to explore the level of gender mainstreaming in the working agenda of substance use treatment centres in Italy. Gender responsive approaches are relatively new in the substance use field, although many studies highlight barriers to women's access to substance use services. The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate to what extent a gender responsive approach is applied in the Italian substance use treatment services and to explore the professionals’ opinions regarding the advantages and the challenges of applying such approach. The majority of professionals recognize the importance of including a gender responsive approach in their working agenda, and the need for specific training. Overall, the gender-responsive approaches are limited to pregnant women and mothers. A subset considered this approach counterproductive as compared to individualized treatment options. Results seem to indicate a general lack of understanding and awareness among professionals about the potentials of applying gender responsive approaches and about the social, economic and cultural factors that determine health inequalities and influence women's access to services. A reductionistic interpretation of the gender responsive approach seems to prevail, which limits women’s needs to those of pregnant women and mothers and does not take into account the role previous trauma and violence experiences might have on drug use in women.
In June 2015, UNICRI published a good practice handbook: “Promoting a gender responsive approach to addiction”, which provides practical examples of gender mainstreaming in addiction services, as well analyses the most relevant factors influencing the development of addiction in women and girls, including the role of previous abuse and violence. The handbook also discusses protective and resilience factors, as well as the role of trauma from previous violence experiences and the specific characteristic of female recovery processes.
A new Report on “The Impacts of the Crisis on Gender Equality and Women’s Wellbeing in European Union (EU) Mediterranean Countries” was prepared by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) with the involvement of researchers from France, Greece, Italy and Spain. The report included the findings of the gendered impact of the crisis and its consequences for women in the EU Mediterranean Basin. This study intended to address the gap in the research about gendered impacts of the economic crisis at national and regional levels and to contribute to the Post-2015 development framework.
The report was based on economic indicators of gender equality and focuses on domestic violence, discrimination, access to justice and welfare services, and covered the four countries from the Mediterranean Basin: France, Spain, Italy and Greece. These countries were chosen because of their similar population numbers and location, in the effort of gathering comparable data. Coping responses of the countries respective governments were analysed from a gender perspective. This new Report provided insights on the impact of economic downturn on women’s well-being and to support the future strategy for promoting women’s rights and gender equality, with a view of attaining the MDGs for 2015. It explored possible strategies, which can help to minimize risks and alleviate vulnerable situations. The presentation of the report, attended by Permanent Representatives of the EU and outside EU countries to the United Nations and representatives of the United Nations Institutions based in Geneva, was launched at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 18 September 2014.