As 2019 comes to a close, we are excited to share with you all that was accomplished throughout the year! LvA made tremendous strides in advancing its mission to provide integrated legal and psychosocial support services to victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and to facilitate systemic change through strategic engagement with state actors and the communities in which we serve.
Here are a few of the highlights under each of our programme areas:
Direct Legal Services:
- Provided direct legal services to 253 clients including comprehensive criminal case support for 127 clients, protection order assistance for 88 clients and legal advice for 61 clients.
- 16 perpetrators were convicted of attempted murder, rape, statutory rape, assault and contravention of a protection order, receiving heavy sentences for their actions including three life sentences, a 15-year sentence, two 12-year sentences and two 10-year sentences.
- 77% of clients who completed the process received final protection orders.
- 138 clients received psychosocial support. LvA provided:
- 790 individual therapy sessions to 114 clients
- 130 sessions to 22 primary caregivers of minor clients which focused on psychoeducation, self-care and parenting skills
- Group therapy to 24 clients in four groups: clients aged 12-14; clients aged 15 – 18 years old; minors living with cognitive disabilities; and primary caregivers of minor clients.
- Facilitated four psychoeducational workshops for 18 caregivers on understanding trauma.
- Many clients rediscovered a sense of hope, confidence, trust, perseverance and self-esteem during their sessions.
State Actor Engagement:
- Strengthened partnerships with local state actors including police, prosecutors, magistrates, healthcare officials, and social development via continuous and strategic engagement.
- Created accountability in individual instances of misconduct at every level.
- Built capacity through ongoing workshops – three workshops for the specialised Family Violence, Child Abuse and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit and eight workshops for the Diepsloot Community Policing Forum (CPF) GBV Taskforce.
- Continued to lead initiatives under the Diepsloot GBV Forum including advocacy around the lack of post-rape medical care, an anti-rape March to raise awareness around high levels of sexual violence and a Community Dialogue during the 16 Days of Activism.
- Engaged 16,560 community members through 73 talks at two local government clinics, a monthly segment on a local community radio station, and talks at various stakeholder events.
- Facilitated six workshops for community members with 20 to 67 participants per workshop.
- Conducted a 12-month project in two Diepsloot primary schools to: 1) increase each school’s capacity to more effectively prevent and respond to sexual violence; 2) increase accountability in cases of sexual violence in schools; and 3) cultivate an environment conducive to learners reporting instances of sexual violence in school or elsewhere.
Despite ongoing challenges and obstacles, we press on, inspired by the words of one of our clients who had experienced ongoing domestic violence for over 15 years before approaching LvA for assistance:
“Challenges are still there… But I’m strong now to face my challenges without any fear. I am bold, strong, courageous, stable and grounded. Nothing and no one will stand in my way of reaching my destiny or goal… I am a changed person.”
This life-changing work would not be possible without the dedicated support of our partners and countless individuals who have come alongside LvA in ensuring no victim of violence has to journey alone. We look forward to what will be accomplished in 2020.