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Legal Service Providers Protocol
Developed by BLAST


DUTIES OF RELEVANT ACTORS:

1.1 Duties of the Change Maker:

Any survivor of violence or any person on her behalf may contact the Change Maker for support. The Change Maker will either bring the survivor to a hub or consult with a facilitator for advise at the hub level

1.2 Duties of All Field Facilitators:

Any survivor of violence or any person on her behalf may also report a case of violence to the legal, health and information facilitators from BLAST, Marie Stopes and the We Can Alliance.

In case of physical injuries, the survivor may be sent to BWHC for a primary check-up. In appropriate cases, the survivor may betaken to the OCC or other healthcare institutes.

1.3 Legal service modality Legal Facilitators:

  • The legal facilitators (LFs) will be stationed at the Information Hubs (one-stop service centres) 2 days a week, either from 1:00am to 4:00pm or 5:00pm to 8:00pm.BLAST will maintain a pre-approved schedule for LFs to ensure their availability in Information Hubs.

  • The LFs will receive legal aid clients at the information hubs.

  • The clients may be the victim/survivor herself, Change Makers, or other facilitators. LFs will attentively listen to the client’s problem and give her advice on the legal options available to her.

  • In other cases, the LF will inform her of the merits of the case. The final decision as to the legal action that may be pursued in a case will be determined by the LF solely in line with the wishes of the client. Thereafter, the complaint will be received. If the client wishes to go for mediation/shalish, the process of mediation must be explained to the client. The LF must then notify the other party of the date and place of mediation by post. Dispute resolution will be pursued in the shalish in respective area offices. If mediation fails, or if the other party fails to appear for mediation even after three letters for mediation have been sent, preparation for litigation will be initiated with the client’s consent.

  • If the client neither opts for mediation/shalish, nor litigation, but merely receives legal advice, that will also be recorded. For litigation, the complaint will be formally received and sent to the BLAST panel lawyer through referral to the BLAST Unit Office.

  • In cases of physical violence where the survivor needs immediate treatment, he or she will be sent to BWHC or Marie Stopes referral service. If the survivor is severely injured, s/he will be taken to other healthcare institutions such as the OCC. The LF, if necessary should accompany the survivor. Small amounts for hospital expenses may be paid for the client from the project (either by BLAST or BWHC).

  • Filing a case at the police station may be required. A lawyer must be taken along to assist with PP. A follow-up will be carried out by BLAST, Marie Stopes and WE CAN.

Some important issues:

  • The client should be dealt with privately. Confidentiality must be maintained.

  • Before reaching any decision on what to do for the client, consent must be acquired and is the highest priority. No steps can be taken without the client’s consent.

  • Case management may not be applicable all the time. The client may just need some help during a crisis.

  • Clients’ immediate or foreseeable needs will have to be addressed first. Planning for what is to happen in the future may require more time.

  • Women and child victims’ complaints must be heard attentively.

  • Many victims suffer abuse and harassment after reintegration, sometimes necessitating a return to care. Victims are not returned to families, communities or spouses who have previously abused or trafficked them, or if there is any stigma in their neighbourhood, without being provided adequate protection. Sometimes the survivor’s family might think that the the caregiver SAFE project team is motivating the survivors to live in a shelter.

  • Facilitators should be wary and mindful with their discussion and behaviour.

Follow-up

To ensure successful reintegration, follow-up support activities for the victim may be needed, usually for approximately six months. Following reintegration, the victim and her family/spouse may require protection from abusers/perpetrators.

Empower the survivor:

It is sometimes difficult to visit the survivor in her house, as by doing this we make her more vulnerable to risk. It is essential at first to give the survivor safety skills by teaching her the probable risks and how she can avoid them. Assurance must also be provided to her so that she can seek or ask for help at any time.

Follow-up visit:

In the follow-up visit the facilitaors needs to learn about the survivor’s condition and determine whether the family, community or spouse will abuse, re-traffic, or otherwise harm the victim upon her return. Facilitators need to be careful regarding their words and behaviour so as to not to put the survivor into more danger. If there is harm for the survivor, she should be offered assistance through a safe custody/shelter home.

Confidentiality:

A facilitator should keep all of the case information confidential at all times. Facilitators should think about the client’s dignity. The facilitatorsvising the client should never disclose information about the victim to outsiders, the press, neighbors, or family members. Facilitators should inform the client of any available access to counseling services if she is interested in them and help her to access them. However, this should be done in a manner that respects her privacy.

Community Counseling:

Facilitators can assist the progress of a counseling meeting with the parents, relatives, community leaders, or the elderly, to reintegrate the survivors to the community, if the victim consents. The victim and her family, community, or husband should be prepared for the reintegration. Therefore, knowledge needs to be built with the community people through meeting, campaigning, and creating awareness.

Confidentiality:

A facilitator should keep all of the case information confidential at all times. Facilitators should think about the client’s dignity. The facilitatorsvising the client should never disclose information about the victim to outsiders, the press, neighbors, or family members. Facilitators should inform the client of any available access to counseling services if she is interested in them and help her to access them. However, this should be done in a manner that respects her privacy.

Community Counseling:

Facilitators can assist the progress of a counseling meeting with the parents, relatives, community leaders, or the elderly, to reintegrate the survivors to the community, if the victim consents. The victim and her family, community, or husband should be prepared for the reintegration. Therefore, knowledge needs to be built with the community people through meeting, campaigning, and creating awareness.