Professor Heather D. Flowe
Global Challenges Research
We are putting the science of eyewitness memory and international development studies into conversation to develop tools and approaches for collecting memory evidence in low resource environments, such as in Low and Middle Income Countries and in conflict settings, where the criminal justice infrastructure and other necessary resources for collecting eyewitness and victim testimony are minimal. Project descriptions are below. Download our brochure to learn more.
Building the capacity of rape survivors to research sexual violence in Kenya
The project seeks to prevent sexual violence by changing the way we gather and use evidence to remember but not repeat violence. In Kenya, an estimated 11 million women have sustained sexual and gender-based violence, and yet, few cases are prosecuted. The Survivors of Sexual Violence in Kenya Network, founded by the Wangu Kanja Foundation (WKF), has developed an app to interview survivors in all Kenya’s 47 counties. The project is predicated on the experience of the WKF and their partners that vastly improved evidence, in terms of response rates and accuracy, can be obtained by survivor-interviewers, who are trusted by interviewees and their communities, through building empathy and rapport based on shared experience.
Data research to study barriers to justice
Survivors of sexual violence struggle to access post rape care services and prosecutions are extremely rare, particularly in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). The lack of data, and weak statistical and technical capacity, pose major obstacles to sustainable development in LMICs. We are conducting a secondary data analysis of data held by the WKF. The rresearch will inform policy makers about barriers to service access and case attrition. The dataset provides urgently needed information about the experiences of adult and child survivors in Nairobi who attempted to access post rape care services from 2016 to present day. The results will enable rape survivors in Kenya to use the insights from the research to advocate for policy change while providing generalisable insights for other LMICs.
Improving the collection of memory evidence in low resource environments
This project investigates the use of a mobile app to document sexual violence cases to research sexual violence and advocate for policy change in Kenya while providing generalisable insights for other Low and Middle Income Countries. MobApp is being used by the Rape Survivors Network in Kenya to document cases in all 47 counties of Kenya. We are testing its impact on memory evidence compared to current practice in Kenya as well as approaches used in the Global North. The results will inform the design of future apps for documenting sexual violence in contexts where resources are lacking, such as in Low and Middle Income Countries, and in conflict settings.