Kai is separating from his partner of 10 years. He is deeply concerned about being present in the lives of his daughters and ensuring that they don’t drift away from him. He and his partner need to divide their assets and come to an understanding about sharing the financial cost of raising the children. How can he get past the resentments and grudges that he has against his partner and come to an agreement that will take care of everybody’s needs?
~ Kai (35)
Like Kai, millions of people face family justice problems every year. People get into disputes over inheritance. They have marital problems leading to separation and division of assets. Women often become victims of domestic violence. The new ‘Family Justice’ page on the Dashboard gives an overview of the justice gap experienced by people when undergoing a family dispute and showcases solutions to bridge this gap. Through the voice of Kai, we take the reader through this journey to justice and turn a new page in life.
Justice Dashboard – Family Page
Drawing on data collected by HiiL from 16 countries, the Family Justice page showcases the impact of family problems, their resolution rate, the people who assist in resolving the problems, and the kind of outcomes people ideally want. This data can be further broken down by age, gender, and geography to provide a granular and in-depth analysis. The data is visualised in an interactive and exploratory manner, such that it allows you ― the reader ― to interact with the data, formulate your own questions and look for interesting patterns and stories that emerge.
Informal justice systems
Empirical data collected by HiiL shows that people are less likely to engage in formal justice systems such as the police or courts. In fact, only 22% of the people undergoing a family dispute relied on formal justice systems. Generally, people resolve the problem using informal channels such as their own social networks.
They want to be understood and have their feelings acknowledged by the other party. This is one of the clear findings of research on family disputes. It is also what justice workers apply as a good practice.
On the dashboard, you will find recommendations that will help people in getting the outcomes they want. The recommendations have been developed by combining international literature and expert advice of persons working in the family justice field to resolve problems and mitigate complications arising out of disputes between partners. For instance, how much information should Kai and his partner reveal to their young children when explaining their reasons for separating? Should they lay bare all grievances that they have against each other? Or should they tell the children just enough for them to understand why their parents cannot be together? The recommendations address practical questions such as these and help families in coping with the pain of separation.
We modelled this method of developing recommendations on the medical sector. The medical sector has given standard guidelines that professionals can follow. We wanted to do the same ― identify evidence-based guidelines that justice workers can take as starting points while resolving a problem.
To that end, we identified interventions that address this problem and then selected two to three most effective ones. Then we evaluated each intervention by examining its pros and cons, compared it with other interventions, and graded the source of textual evidence using the GRADE method ― a scholarly benchmark given by the medical sector to evaluate the quality of evidence. In this way, we tried to build a rigorous way of developing recommendations that can be used by justice workers.
Last but not the least, we bring to you innovations, many of which are technology-based, from across the world that help couples undergoing separation. They simplify the process of getting a divorce, dividing assets and responsibilities. They also address meeting emotional needs of the couple as well as children and help them in coping with stress.
All in all, we hope to provide useful information for social workers, lawyers, judges and other mediators that have a role to play in disputes such as divorce.