As we pause to reflect back on 2018, we are encouraged by what was accomplished, strengthened through challenges faced, and thankful for the lessons we learned along the way. Here are just a few of the highlights.
In 2018, LvA provided legal and/or psychosocial support to 277 victims of gender-based violence (GBV), including sexual violence, domestic violence, and child abuse. Without LvA’s support, many of these women and children would have had to face this difficult journey alone.
LvA provided direct legal services to 214 clients. Specifically, LvA provided protection order assistance to 127 clients and comprehensive criminal case support to 103 clients, with 16 clients receiving both services. We celebrated nine convictions in criminal cases of statutory rape, rape, assault and kidnapping. We sat in courtrooms as clients courageously testified against their abuser. Final protection orders were granted for 86% of clients who chose to complete the process. For many women seeking a protection order, it is the first time they have stood up against their abuse following years of abuse. It is a privilege for LvA to walk with these clients as they boldly seek justice despite overwhelming odds.
LvA also continued to work closely with local police and court officials to provide support and ensure accountability in GBV cases. LvA has pushed the police to arrest perpetrators who would otherwise walk the streets freely, at times continuing to terrorise their victims. We have challenged prosecutors pressure domestic violence victims to mediate instead of fighting for justice on their behalf. Countless cases that would have slipped through the cracks without LvA intervention to push the system to work the way it should.
Attending to our clients’ emotional, mental, and psychological needs, LvA therapists provided 144 clients with 596 individual therapy sessions. We watched as many therapy clients appeared to experience a shift as they were able to internalise a sense of security and rediscover the ability to trust and to hope. It has been poignant to witness clients’ courage, vulnerability and openness throughout this process.
Lastly, LvA’s community engagement team made tremendous strides in raising awareness about GBV within the Diepsloot community and educating community members on their rights, legal remedies and the available support services provided by LvA. Through various outreach activities, LvA reached over 15,000 community members and facilitated workshops for over 430 women and girls. LvA’s community action groups also successfully planned and executed several mobilisation and awareness events, reaching over 3,000 community members.
Our work would not be possible without the generous support of people all over the world! We are so grateful for your support and ongoing commitment to ending GBV. With your help, we look forward to growing from strength to strength in 2019.