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ABA Justice Works (Past Program)

Justice Works was a joint program between the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the ABA Center for Human Rights. The program utilized both the approach of ABA ROLI by promoting justice, economic opportunity and human dignity through the rule of law and of the approach of the ABA Center for Human Rights by supporting advocates and activists abroad.


Justice Works supports nongovernmental organization-led initiatives to prevent, reduce and respond to bias-motivated violence based on real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics by providing targeted pro bono technical assistance to civil society, the justice sector and other stakeholders. Justice Works uses a comprehensive response framework to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) organizations, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, first responders, victim support service providers and others can effectively work together to end all forms of violence impacting LGBTI communities.


Justice Works engaged stakeholders from various sectors to improve and strengthen responses to bias-motivated violence impacting LGBTI people. By supporting community organizations, justice sector officials and a broad community of diverse stakeholders, Justice Works not only sought to address violence after it has occurred, but also to provide the resources and capacity to reduce and prevent bias-motivated violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics.

Justice Works’ network of pro bono experts provided mentorship to civil society organizations, justice sector personnel and others involved in all stages of addressing violence. This may include strategies such as documentation, investigation and prosecution, as well as community-based advocacy, victim support services and restorative justice initiatives. The program responded to requests for assistance and facilitates best practice sharing among community members, victims, advocates, investigators, prosecutors, judges and others.

Theory of change

Justice Works aimed to address violence against the LGBTI community in cases where it has already occurred, and to empower advocates and governments to stop violence before it happens. Justice Works recognizes that any effort to tackle violence against the LGBTI community requires coordination across a wide variety of approaches and stakeholders. By identifying and providing effective examples of cross-sector cooperation and sharing best practices and legal and advocacy strategies from around the world, Justice Works ensured that advocates and allies have the technical support and resources necessary to increase safety and access to justice for all members of the LGBTI community.  

Who can get assistance?

Civil society: Organizations representing individuals and/or campaigning for prevention, investigation, and accountability for violence against the LGBTI community; organizations working to build and strengthen community-based anti-violence coalitions and networks.

Law enforcement: Police officers who respond to violence against the LGBTI community and need the tools to recognize and investigate bias-motivated crime.

Prosecutors: Lawyers who seek to effectively prosecute incidents of bias-motivated violence impacting LGBTI persons.

Other stakeholders: medical first responders with responsibility for evidence-generation and evidence-gathering; social workers; members of the judiciary seeking to understand international legal norms around bias-violence; and others committed to ending all forms of violence impacting LGBTI communities. 

Justice Works worked to facilitate mentorship and strategic consultation with peers who have successfully advocated on these issues; coordinate joint training and strategy sessions with local police, prosecutors, and judges; and provide small grant awards to support targeted advocacy activities.    

Justice Works does not provide emergency funding. If you are facing threats due to LGBTI-related human rights work, please visit Dignity for All.


Contact Us

To learn more about our work, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].