Online Project Showcase

Protecting Women and Children in Northern Uganda

  • Organisation:

    International Justice Mission Australia

  • ABN or Auspicing Organisation:


  • Scope of Activity:


  • Geographic Location:

    Gulu, Uganda

  • Target Groups:

    Rural / Regional


Funding Information

  • Total Funding Required (AUD):


  • Current Funding (AUD):


  • Funding Needed (AUD):


  • Tax Deductability Status (DGR):


  • Tax Concession Status (TCC):


  • DGR Additional Information:

    Item 1 of the table in Section 30-15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act

  • Other Funding Partners:


Project Information

  • Project Commencement Date:
  • January 2019
  • Project Completion Date:
  • December 2024
  • What issues are addressed?:
  • Right now, being born a girl in Uganda means being born at heightened risk of sexual violence, violence from a romantic partner and violence when that partner dies and the property you rely on for sustenance is stolen from you. When a man beats his wife, it is often seen as a personal matter. Shockingly high percentages of women are subject to physical abuse from the people closest to them. One hospital in Northern Uganda reported that nearly a quarter of the trauma patients admitted were there because of domestic violence (DV). In Uganda, when a man dies, it is common for neighbours, relatives and other community members to violently steal the home and property from his widow and children. Although the law is on their side, women are not perceived as eligible to inherit the land. Police and courts are not always equipped and can be slow to respond to women and children who desperately need protection from violence.
  • Project Description:
  • The project goal is to increase the public justice system’s capacity to address violence against women and children in northern Uganda and reduce prevalence of the crime. Through a collaborative casework approach, IJM works alongside local authorities to: 1) Secure rescue and relief for widows and orphans who are victims of land theft, restoring them to their land and home and securing documented legal ownership of that property; 2) Provide safety to victims of domestic violence; 3) Restore survivors by providing appropriate aftercare - counselling, ensuring children can go to school, helping women begin income-generating projects; 4) Hold abusers accountable by supporting police and prosecutors to investigate and build strong cases against the criminals; 5) Strengthen the public justice system by working with police, courts and local authorities to dramatically improve the justice system response to domestic violence and land theft so that women and children are safe
  • Alleviating suffering / disadvantage?:
  • By collaborating with local authorities on actual cases, this project brings rescue to women in northern Uganda who are victims of DV and land theft, provides for their restoration – including counselling, medical care, livelihood training – and prosecutes abusers to ensure the survivors’ continued safety. Taking these cases through the courts and securing convictions of abusers changes the culture where impunity thrives. The justice system is strengthened: violent oppressors are held accountable for their crimes and unchecked violence against women drastically reduced. A justice system that works for the vulnerable allows them to flourish and provides the conditions for a society to develop sustainably. Protection of widows and orphans from violent land theft restores to them land that is rightfully theirs, ensuring access to shelter, food, income, and increases their prospects for the future. Since 2012, IJM Gulu has helped rescue 621 women and family members from land theft and DV.
  • Changing Policy, Practices & Systems?:
  • IJM’s casework approach not only brings relief and rescue to individual victims of violence, but also transforms the public justice system to better protect women and children. In Central Uganda, IJM provided training and technical assistance to police, prosecutors and judges on cases of violent land theft against widows and orphans. From the beginning of the project in 2012 to its completion in 2017, there was nearly a 50% reduction in the prevalence of land theft in the project area, as well as a drop in attempted land theft by more than 50%. An external evaluation found that the reduction in land theft was connected to IJM’s capacity building and mentoring of public justice system actors. IJM will build upon the partnerships and learning from this earlier project to equip and mobilise authorities throughout Uganda to protect women and children survivors of violence through a criminal justice system that responds to violence and allows women and children to live in safety.
  • Investing in or empowering women?:
  • Violence against women and children, in all its forms, is a barrier to gender equality and undermines health, education and economic progress at the individual, family and societal levels. This project will empower women in northern Uganda and invest in their future by strengthening the public justice system’s capacity to respond to DV and land theft, thus significantly reducing the prevalence of these crimes. When women and girls can live without fear of violence, it has positive impacts for their health, dignity and participation in education, employment and civic life. For women and men alike, land holds the key to security, shelter and livelihood. Insecure land rights create obstacles for women in accessing safe and decent housing, obtaining adequate nutrition, and engaging in farming or running a home-based enterprise. By securing the rights of vulnerable women and children to land, this project supports women’s dignity and creates pathways to empowerment and economic opportunity.
  • Media / Promotion?:
  • The Gulu office has a Government and Community Relations Coordinator who engages with local media to bring attention to the issues of domestic violence and land theft, often through guest appearance on radio talk shows. For example, when Police Scotland held a workshop in Gulu, Uganda, to learn more about how police handle domestic violence crimes, we invited local media to cover the story. This aired on Uganda national television.
  • How is success evaluated / measured?:
  • IJM has built a robust Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Unit which ensures that regular monitoring and evaluation, with set measurable goals, is built into work plans. IJM measures its success by comparing actual results with carefully set targets. As a result of our activities, we hope to see all areas of our mission advanced and scaled as we rescue victims of violence, hold criminals accountable, restore survivors and strengthen justice systems. Staff in the field track cases through the Casework Tracking and Management System, a software developed specifically for IJM casework. Leadership reviews and analyses these results through quarterly progress reports. Ultimately, IJM is working towards dramatic improvements in local justice systems, helping protect millions of people from ever experiencing devastating violence in the first place.

Contact Information

  • Contact Person:

    Natalie Stackhouse

  • Email:

  • Website:

    Click Here

  • Phone: