he Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit (GHJRU)

The GHJRU is situated in the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Health Sciences (Division of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology). The GHJRU conducts progressive research in the area of women’s rights. 

 Faced with staggering levels of violence against women in South Africa, the Unit is dedicated to improving access to health and justice services for survivors of gender-based violence. The GHJRU uses interdisciplinary methods from various academic fields including law, the social sciences, and public health to contribute to policies and laws and to advocate for social justice.

The University of Cape Town awarded the GHJRU a Social Responsiveness Award in 2009. These awards recognise academics who demonstrate that social engagement has enhanced the teaching and learning process.


Lillian Artz. Prior to establishing the GHJRU in 2004, Lillian spent nine years as a chief researcher and lecturer at the Centre for Criminology (Faculty of Law, UCT). Artz has published over 70 articles, chapters and policy reports relating to domestic violence, sexual offences and sex work, including women’s rights to freedom and security, monitoring states and state accountability, rape and domestic violence during armed conflict and in post-conflict societies, transitional policing and the intersections between HIV and sexual violence. She has also worked intensively on criminal justice and health care reform in South Africa and other African countries over the past 15 years. This includes partnering with local and regional NGO’s to improve research, documentation and advocacy strategies to effect policy change, legal reform and access to justice as well as developing programmes to provide direct services to victims. Her current project work includes monitoring the implementation of South Africa’s Sexual Offences Act as well as conducting research on women in prisons, domestic homicide, the medico-legal management of domestic violence and sexual offences, and the attrition of domestic violence cases in the criminal justice system. As a British Council Fellow and Wingate Scholar, she completed her doctoral work at the Faculty of Law (Criminology & Criminal Justice) at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland where is also a visiting scholar.

Gray Aschman joined the GHJRU as a researcher in 2008. She holds an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Oxford, where she wrote her thesis on the growth of Chinese organised crime in South Africa. Her research at the GHJRU is focussed on the provision of health care services to rape survivors, South African women’s pathways to prison, and torture in places of incarceration (with the A5I). Her research interests include women’s rights, gender-based violence, incarceration and organised crime.

Tina Lorizzo is a student at the University of Cape Town in the Criminal Justice LLM Programme. She holds a BA and LLB from the University of Bologna in Italy. Her interests and experience are in the fields of criminal justice, victimology and prison law. As a practitioner, she worked as a lawyer at the Institute for Legal Assistance (Instituto Patrocínio Assitência Jurídica, IPAJ) in Maputo, Mozambique. She has collaborated with Prison Fellowship Mozambique and worked as an intern at the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative in 2010. The title of her LLM thesis is “Pre-trial Justice in Mozambique: conditions of detention and access to legal representation in the prisons ‘Cadeia Civil’ and ‘Cadeia Central’ of Maputo”.

Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI)

The CSPRI, established in 2003, is a research and advocacy project focusing on prisons and places of confinement in the African region, with the aim of furthering constitutional and human rights imperatives within these settings.

The CSPRI’s objectives include the promotion of good prison governance, the use of non-custodial sentencing options and improved reintegration services in order to reduce the recidivism rate. The CSPRI works to achieve these objectives through high quality research, lobbying and advocacy efforts and the development and strengthening of other civil society institutions and initiatives in order to promote effective awareness and oversight of prison-related issues. The range of issues examined in the field of prison reform by the CSPRI include: sentencing, parole, torture, pre-trial detention, conditions of detention and children in prison.


Lukas Muntingh is co-founder and Project Coordinator of CSPRI and holds a MA (Sociology) from Stellenbosch University. He has been involved in criminal justice reform since 1992 and was Deputy Executive Director of Nicro prior to joining CSPRI full-time. He has worked in Southern Africa and Central Asia on child justice, prisoners’ rights, preventing corruption in the prison system, the prevention and combating of torture, and monitoring legislative compliance. He has published extensively and presented at several conferences. His current focus is on the prevention and combating of torture and ill treatment of prisoners and detainees.

Gwénaëlle Dereymaeker joined CSPRI as a researcher in July 2011. She holds an LLM in Human Rights Law from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and a licences a droit from the Université Catholique de Louvain. Her interests are in the dynamics between international and domestic law, in particular in criminal law, and between public international law and constitutional and administrative law. She has worked as an International Legal Officer at the War Crimes Chambers, State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as an Advisor at the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations, New York and as an Intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. More recently, she was a research associate at the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at UCT.

Berber Hettinga joined CSPRI as a doctoral researcher in June 2010. She holds an LLM degree in International and European Law from Utrecht University. She was an assistant to Prof. C. Flinterman at the Netherlands Human Rights Institute and assistant-attaché at the Dutch Mission to the United Nations in New York. She spent five years in Bosnia and Herzegovina working for a local human rights NGO and as (Senior) Human Rights Officer for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Currently, she is LLD Candidate at the Law Faculty of UWC, and the title of her research is “Prevention of torture in Africa: effective independent oversight of places of deprivation of liberty”.

African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF)

APCOF, created in 2004, is a network of African practitioners – drawn from state and non-state institutions – active in policing reform and civilian oversight over policing in Africa. 

APCOF believes that the broad values behind the establishment of civilian oversight are to assist in restoring public confidence, develop a culture of human rights, integrity and transparency within the police and promote a good working relationship between the police and the community. It achieves its goal through raising awareness, sharing information on police oversight and providing technical assistance to civil society, police and police oversight bodies in Africa. APCOF utilizes the expertise of its membership to promote learning and networking on the continent, and is actively engaged in country reform projects, regional dialogues, and is working at a continental level to prioritise police reform.


Sean Tait is a graduate in criminology from the Centre of Criminology at the University of Cape Town. He is currently the coordinator of the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum. He has worked as programme director for the Open Society Foundation of South Africa’s Criminal Justice Initiative and as executive director of a local South African non-governmental organisation, U Managing Conflict, focused on peace and security issues. He has extensive experience in the criminal justice and crime prevention fields in Africa.

University of Bristol Human Rights Implementation Centre (HRIC)

The HRIC is based in the University of Bristol Law School in the UK. It was established in June 2009 in order to provide an international focus for developing expertise, advice and scholarship on the role of institutions in the implementation of human rights.

Staff at the HRIC include leaders in the field of international human rights law and are recognised as being at the forefront of human rights research.

The objective of the HRIC is to work with a range of institutions and organisations at the international, regional and national levels to create a better understanding of how the implementation of human rights can be strengthened globally. The initial focus of the HRIC continued work undertaken in the context of a significant research project on the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture. As a result of this research the HRIC is recognised as one of the leading institutions for expertise on national mechanisms to prevent torture.

Since then the HRIC has expanded its work to include other areas of human rights and to work with a range of institutions more broadly on implementation issues. The current activities of the HRIC are based around four core interrelated themes namely: the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture; torture prevention; national human rights institutions; and strengthening implementation mechanisms and procedures.

Within the context of these four broad themes the HRIC conducts major pieces of research and provides advice to institutions and organisations at all levels aimed at strengthening efforts to improve implementation of human rights around the world.


Debra Long is a UK qualified lawyer who has specialised in the rights of persons deprived of their liberty and the prevention of torture and other ill-treatment. Debra is currently a researcher with the Human Rights Implementation Centre of the University of Bristol Law School. Debra joined the University of Bristol in October 2008 to work on a four-year research project, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, looking at the implementation of standards to prevent torture in Africa. Prior to this appointment, between 2004 and 2008, Debra worked as a legal and policy advisor at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London. Between 2001 and 2004 Debra worked with the Association for the Prevention of Torture (the APT), an international NGO based in Geneva. During her time at the APT Debra was in charge of the UN and Legal Programme and was closely involved with the UN negotiations on the OPCAT and the expert working group that drafted the Robben Island Guidelines for the Prevention of Torture in Africa, which were subsequently adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.