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Family Justice

Kato and his partner are separating. This affects them and their kids. They feel chaos and pain. They need to find a solution. Both want to move on with their lives.

This page shows data on problems, the impact of family issues, examples of outcomes that people get, the kind of help people look for, knowledge on what works in order to solve family problems, bottlenecks to solving problems and promising innovations.

Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels

Meet Kato

Our family may fall apart because my partner and I are separating. This is turning our lives upside down. Our home will not be the same. I worry how the relationship with my children will adjust. Our financial situation will suffer. Maybe we will quarrel and who knows, there may be violence. I want to find a solution because our problem has major impact on us and our children.


This is what Kato wants to achieve

I try to imagine how each of us will live in a year from now. Experiencing peace and justice after we went through a difficult time. The kind of outcomes that we need are:

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The outcomes that people get

People want their children to be safe and secure. They want violence to end.

So far, people in Uganda, Ethiopia and the United States were asked about the kind of outcomes that they are getting, when dealing with a family justice problem.

This graph shows data from Uganda. More countries will follow soon.

Data tells us that there are many people out there like Kato. Most family problems that people experience relate to parents separating, to family violence or inheritance. Not all of these problems are fully resolved.

Family problems cause damaged relationships and stress

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How many new problems occur every year?

Like mine, other families are in crisis. We all know families who have serious issues.

This is the number of new family problems in a country, per year. It is derived from the country survey data.

A legal problem is a problem that takes place in daily life. It could be a dispute, disagreement or grievance for which there is a resolution in the (formal or informal) law.

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The impact and consequences of dealing with family problems

Financial strains relating to separating has caused severe stress and I can see the impact on the well-being of my family.

Family problems affect people in different ways. Often, separating has a severe negative impact on life.

The next graph shows violence, stress, deterioration of important relationships and personal injury can be a consequence of family problems. 

People get help in different ways. They might see a lawyer or ask their family for advice.

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These are the justice providers people go to for help.

There are many ways to resolve problems. This is where people go if they need a solution.

The steps that people take to resolve a problem is a justice journey

This graph shows dispute resolution mechanisms they may use during a journey.

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These are the most helpful justice providers

I want a fair resolution. Where do I go?

Data shows the most helpful justice provider in the process of resolving the problem is people’s personal network.

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Evaluating experiences

Do people with family problems get justice? The broad idea of justice can be broken down in a number of elements. Respect, voice and procedural clarity are things that people value in a procedure. In the outcomes, they want to see a fair share, harm should be undone, the outcome should be explained and it should work. Ideally, procedures are low cost, cost little time and not too stressful. We can see here that family procedures are seen as rather stressful (bigger = better procedure). 

Bottlenecks in serving families

For people who are separating, it is difficult to find the right help. The data show that people go to a wide range of helpers: other family members, friends, religious persons, social workers, general practitioners, family mediators, lawyers, therapists or the police. In most countries, there is no clear trajectory for separation, or for complications such as domestic violence.