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Lead Researcher for an Assessment of Justice Delivery for Children Victims of Defilement in Uganda

Kampala (Uganda)

  • Organization: IDLO - International Development Law Organization
  • Location: Kampala (Uganda)
  • Grade: Single Engagement Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2020-12-15

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The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) enables governments and empowers people to reform laws and strengthen institutions to promote peace, justice, sustainable development, and economic opportunity. We contribute to creating stable and inclusive societies where every person can live free from fear and want, with dignity, and under the rule of law. IDLO has its headquarters in Rome, Italy, a Branch Office in The Hague, Liaison Offices for the United Nations in New York and Geneva, as well as 17 Country Offices, including Uganda. 


The National Association of Women Judges in Uganda (NAWJU) is a membership organization comprised of judicial officers from the lower and upper bench (Judges, Magistrates, and Registrars) who are committed to enforcing women's rights and increasing women's access to the legal system under the Judiciary. The Association was established in 1994 as a branch of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) and has since spearheaded advocacy in the advancement and promotion of gender equality especially improving access to justice for women and children. It operates on the premise that, through informed leadership, members can be catalysts for social transformation. NAWJU believes that, as leaders at different levels, its members have the opportunity to effect change through decision-making processes in and outside the bench.



IDLO, with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), is implementing the Community Justice Programme (CJP) 2018-2023, which seeks to enhance the accessibility, quality, and sustainability of justice services delivered for rural, vulnerable, and marginalized communities at the national, district and community levels in Uganda. In implementing the CJP, IDLO is entering into financial and technical support partnerships with a number of state and non-state institutions, including professional associations who are actors in the justice sector.

Through its partnership with NAWJU, IDLO seeks to support the association to better contribute to the dispensation of gender-sensitive and responsive justice in Uganda, including enhancing NAWJU’s participation in gender reform processes. Towards this end, IDLO and NAWJU intends to conduct a study to assess how the justice sector in Uganda has addressed the issue of defilement throughout the justice chain in the last decade and the role that the legal framework particularly the law on defilement (as amended in 2007) has played in facilitating or impeding the actions by the sector and ultimately make recommendations on policy and institutional reforms to address the high defilement rates in the face of strong legal guarantees. . This is intended to identify measures that can be adopted by relevant justice sector actors towards reducing cases of defilement in Uganda and also provide better justice outcomes for children victims of defilement. Accordingly, IDLO, on behalf of NAWJU, is seeking the services of a Consultant with the relevant expertise outlined in the ‘’Ideal Candidate Profile’’ section below to undertake this exercise. 


In 2007, the amendment of Section 129 of the Penal Code Act (Cap 120), was embraced as a phenomenal strategy to curb the rate of defilement crimes in Uganda.  The amendment not only broadened the definition of defilement to cover also acts against male victims but also strengthened many other aspects in the provisions of the crime of defilement. The amendment provided for simple and aggravated defilement with distinct conditions. Simple defilement is committed against any person who is below the age of 18 years and the offender is liable to be convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the case of aggravated defilement, the aggravating circumstances include where the victim is under 14 years of age, the offender has HIV, the offender is the victim’s parent or guardian, the victim has a disability, or the offender is a serial offender. Aggravated defilement carries a maximum penalty of death upon conviction.  The amendment also introduced the offense of child-to-child sex, where the offender is a child under 12 years; and when committed by a male child and a female child upon each other when each is not below 12 years, these matters are dealt with separately as required by the Children’s Act. Further, the amended law on defilement provides for payment of compensation to victims in addition to any sentence imposed on the offender upon conviction.  These amendments ushered remarkable legal guarantees towards the fight against the crime of defilement in Uganda and were expected to constitute a strong deterrent from committing or attempting to commit defilement. However, the country has in the last decade continue to register consistently high rates of reported cases of defilement. In 2019, a total of 13,613 defilement cases were reported to the Police,  while the previous year 15,366 cases were reported. Additionally, the percentage of the reported cases of defilement that are taken to court and those that lead to successful convictions have been consistently low, and hence pointing to the failure to provide the expected positive justice outcomes for the young victims of these grievous crimes. Statistics in the 2019 Police Annual Crime Report indicate that only 42% of registered defilement cases were taken to court (a total of 5735 cases out of the 13613 cases reported), out of which 4,168 cases (73%) were still undergoing investigations. Only 1021 (18%) of these cases taken to court secured convictions, while 69 (1%) of the cases resulted in acquittals and 474 (8%) were dismissed. These statistics have a generally consistent trend in the last four years, although a slight reduction of backlog (-8%) and a slight increase of conviction (+8%) has been registered since 2015.

It is certainly not the absence of the law that accounts for the high defilement rates in Uganda, but the possible reasons could lie in the enforcement and implementation of the law and related factors. Significant delays in investigation and prosecution exacerbate the situation causing a backlog as many cases remain not disposed of for long. As it is, justice delayed is justice denied. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of sufficient research and evidence on how defilement cases are handled throughout the justice chain and the level of implementation and effectiveness of the existing legal and institutional framework for handling defilement cases, including the current law on defilement (as amended in 2007).  It is, therefore, necessary that the level of implementation and enforcement of the legal framework on defilement and reasons thereof be assessed. Areas requiring in-depth research and analysis include, among others: justice actors’ knowledge and awareness of the defilement legal framework and their role in its enforcement; law enforcement mechanisms; the dispensation of justice for children victims of defilement including duration and modalities of investigations and prosecution of defilement cases; victims’ participation and protection and underlying reasons for dropping out of defilement cases; effectiveness of the current sentencing and penalties approaches in defilement cases and gender and child sensitiveness of frontline justice institutions.



The main objective of the research is to assess how the justice sector in Uganda has addressed the issue of defilement throughout the justice chain in the last decade and the role that the legal framework particularly the law on defilement (as amended in 2007) has played in facilitating or impeding the actions by the sector and ultimately make recommendations on policy and institutional reforms to address the high defilement rates in the face of strong legal guarantees. The research report will be used to inform advocacy by NAWJU and other institutions for justice-related policy and institutional reforms and also inform IDLO (and other development partners) support to relevant state and non-state actors in the justice sector to implement the research report recommendations. Specifically, this research will:

  1. Analyze data from formal justice institutions, including the police, prosecutions, and Judiciary on the extent of reporting, investigation, and prosecution of defilement cases in Uganda since 2007 (including a sex disaggregation analysis) to understand the trend;
  2. Undertake a comprehensive analysis of the legal and institutional framework relating to defilement in Uganda, including the level of implementation of the law of defilement (as amended in 2007), and how the legal and institutional framework has facilitated or impeded reporting, investigation, and prosecution of defilement cases;
  3. Make recommendations on possible solutions towards better justice outcomes in defilement cases including policy and institutional reform recommendations, tailor-made for different stakeholders.

Duties and Responsibilities 

Under the joint supervision of the IDLO Program Manager – Uganda (Gender and Civil Society component) and the NAWJU President, and the technical support from the NAWJU Program Officer, the Consultant will:

  • Conduct an assessment of the justice delivery for children victims of defilement in Uganda, in line with the specific objectives stated above. 
  • Facilitate the technical review, stakeholders’ validation, and subsequent incorporation of the stakeholders’ perspective into the final report.
  • Support NAWJU, aided by IDLO, to launch the report with a view of disseminating the research findings and recommendations to relevant JLOS institutions and other stakeholders. 


Guided by these TORs, the Consultant is expected to design a suitable methodology to be followed to achieve the study objectives. The methodology should be discussed and approved by IDLO and NAWJU before the research can be initiated. The use of research assistants for data collection will be supported by IDLO. 


The Consultant is expected to produce the following deliverables:

a) An inception report bearing the following: Elaboration of her/his understanding of the assignment drawing on the review of relevant literature; a detailed research methodology that will capture both qualitative and quantitative data and a detailed work plan for the following phases of the project, including roles and responsibilities: 

  1. Internal meeting (with IDLO and NAWJU) to discuss work plan, methodology, and tools; 
  2. Selection and onboarding of research assistants (to be contracted by IDLO)
  3. Data collection, storage, and processing;
  4. Technical review meetings of the draft report(s) with the Technical Working Group; 
  5. Validation of preliminary findings by internal stakeholders/peer reviewers;
  6. Validation of the recommendations by key justice actors;
  7. Final reporting.

b) Draft report with relevant annexes.

c) Facilitation of draft report review by internal stakeholders/peer reviewers.

d) Facilitation of the draft report by key justice actors.

e) Final Report with relevant annexes including an Executive Summary summarizing the findings and recommendations.


The consultancy will be home-based for a period of approximately 40 consultancy days, commencing at latest 10 December 2020 and ending no later than 10 April 2020. Time is of the essence and agreed deadlines must be respected for full payment of the consultancy fees.


Upon receipt and review of deliverables of a high and satisfactory quality, payment will be made according to the schedule indicated below. Within a reasonable period of time following submission, IDLO and NAWJU  may request changes to be made to any of the deliverables before granting approval for payment. The proposed schedule is detailed below:


Indicative Due Date


Inception Report including a Conceptual Outline, Work plan, and proposed Methodology and data collection tools

28 December 2020

1st installment 20%

Synthesis Report of relevant Literature / Desk Review

First draft report

10 February 2021

2nd installment 30%

Second draft report incorporating relevant comments + list of comments not incorporated with explanation as to why, including any policy considerations

10 March 2021

Successful facilitation of the technical review and stakeholder validation workshops

25 March 2021

Final draft report and relevant collateral products

10 April 2021

3rd installment 40%

All final deliverables shall be approved and signed off by the IDLO Country Manager-Uganda and the NAWJU President.



  • Postgraduate qualifications in Law, Social Sciences, or Gender Studies. 

Work experience

  • At least 10 years of professional experience regarding the rule of law, gender, and governance sector reforms in Uganda.
  • Experience in legal research, analysis, and writing, particularly in the field of gender, access to justice, and rule of law. Experience in research relating to children's rights, including access to justice for children, and/or sexual and gender-based crimes, in Uganda, will be a significant advantage.

Technical competencies

  • Strong understanding of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and experience in conducting thematic research and other relevant studies. A strong understanding of SGBV relating to children in Uganda is highly desirable.
  • Excellent quantitative and qualitative analytical skills.
  • Proven experience and knowledge of the legal and justice system in Uganda 
  • Proven expertise and knowledge of gender-based violence issues in other East African countries (especially Kenya and/or Tanzania) will be an added advantage.
  • Demonstrable excellent skills and experience in oral and written communication, including report writing, in the English Language.


The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the Contractor assigned to this work. This may not be an exhaustive list of all duties and responsibilities. 

The Director-General of IDLO reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities or even to cancel the recruitment to meet business and organizational needs as necessary.

The application deadline is 29 November 2020.



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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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