Direct Legal Services
LvA attorneys assist victims of domestic violence to secure protection orders – completing applications, explaining the submission and service procedures, preparing clients for and accompanying clients to their final court hearings. LvA also works closely with police officers to ensure orders are enforced.
LvA also supports victims pursuing criminal cases of rape and assault. LvA assists with the initial police report, follows up with the investigating officer to ensure the case is progressing through the criminal justice system and supports the client through trial, including attending trial hearings and liaising with the state prosecutor.
For victims outside of Diepsloot, LvA provides technical assistance by phone or email, explaining and/or answering questions about the legal process for protection orders and criminal cases. For more information about these legal procedures, see our resources page.
LvA’s therapist and Master’s level drama therapists from Wits University provide trauma counselling and supportive psychotherapy for victims of violence in both individual and group settings. Through therapy, we’ve seen countless clients move from places of hopelessness and shame to being able to internalize their own sources of strength and reclaim their own sense of self-worth.
State Actor Engagement
Through our legal casework, LvA works closely with members of the Diepsloot South African Police Service (SAPS), the specialised Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offences Unit, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to ensure that criminal cases progress through the justice system appropriately. With each new case, LvA engages with the investigating officer and prosecutor assigned in order to monitor case progress, document any instances of misconduct, and provide regular updates to the victim.
Having assisted hundreds of victims, LvA is uniquely positioned to identify systemic gaps and challenges facing victims and to push for victim-centered policies and procedures both within the criminal and civil justice systems.
LvA’s community engagement initiative has three-components, all seeking to empower community members with information around gender-based violence, available legal remedies, and LvA’s services.
(1) School workshops: Given the high rates of sexual abuse of children in Diepsloot, LvA’s team works with primary and secondary schools to facilitate workshops for teachers and learners on managing sexual abuse.
(2) Community Outreach: LvA engages in targeted outreach at clinics, churches, schools, support groups and partner organisations throughout Diepsloot, sharing information on gender-based violence and LvA’s services.
(3) Sexual Violence Workshop Series: LvA’s four-part workshop series teaches young women and adolescent girls not only how to identify the deep-seated attitudes and social norms that lead to violence, but also provides them with the tools to challenge those harmful attitudes and practices that perpetuate violence. At the same time, participants are encouraged to find and implement creative and effective solutions to the drivers of violence in their community.