Legal assistance, trauma-sensitive
Many countries’ constitutions state that men and women have equal rights. But the practical reality often looks very different.
Upholding rights: Legal equality for everyone is a fundamental part of all project work at medica mondiale. Many of our partner organisations employ lawyers who provide women with legal support and campaign for women’s rights in court and at public authorities.
Knowing rights: In order to assert their rights, people first need to know which rights they have, so partner organisations raise awareness among women and girls of their rights and the injustices committed against them.
Documenting breaches of rights: An important part of providing legal assistance is the documentation of sexualised violence. Case reports, police protocols and witness statements can serve as crucial evidence in court.
Defending themselves, asserting their rights in court, and ensuring that perpetrators are punished – these are all important steps that help survivors overcome the traumas they suffered. However, this only succeeds if they also receive trauma-sensitive support. Otherwise the discussions and cross-examinations can lead to re-traumatisation. This is why training courses on the Stress- and Trauma-sensitive Approach® (STA) are held for the legal experts helping women in our project work, and also for police, judges and healthcare specialists, who all need to know the best ways to interact with women and girls affected by violence.