Access to Justice
Access to Justice is a service which advocates for children’s rights, provides free access to legal aid for child victims of sexual (and other) abuse and engages with communities to provide information about sexual abuse.
Type of intervention
Classroom setting, group work, public education
Target groups, level of prevention and subgroups
- Children and Young People (Victims) | Primary prevention | Children (6-11 years), Young People (12-17 years) | Male and female | Classroom setting, group work, public education | English
- Children and Young People (Victims) | Tertiary prevention | Children (6-11 years), Young People (12-17 years) | Male and female | Classroom setting, group work, public education | English
- Communities/Families | Primary prevention | Young adults (18-20 years), Adults (21+ years) | Male and female | Classroom setting, group work, public education | English
Refugee children, their parents, families, caregivers and others in the community.
War Child Canada (WCC), Uganda Programme. With a global vision of promoting a world where no child knows war, WCC works in Uganda with conflict-affected communities to help children reclaim their childhood through access to justice. WCC takes an active role in raising public awareness around the impact of conflict on children, communities and shared responsibility to act, including its mandated role of providing free legal aid services to survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA).
Mode and context of delivery
WCC takes a three-pronged approach to reduce the vulnerability of conflict-afflicted children to abuse by:
- Improving their access to justice for past abuses
- Empowering both child sexual abuse survivors and their broader communities to understand the implications of child sexual abuse, and all forms of child abuse
- Advocacy for children's rights
War Child Canada conducts three key activities in this regard:
Legal aid clinics: local lawyers and legal staff use these service centres to provide direct free legal aid services to vulnerable children, who are seeking justice and protection. These services include offering legal advice and counselling, facilitating family and community mediation, making use of traditional legal structures to solve disputes and; providing pro bono legal representation in court. Through the clinics, survivors of child sexual abuse are empowered to access justice and participate in the development of a representative legal infrastructure and system benefiting both themselves and the broader community.
Training for actors in the legal system: WCC provides training to national actors in the justice, system at a national and international level. By strengthening the protective environment within the legal sector, the rights of children are understood, respected, and enforced within both the traditional and formal legal systems. Furthermore, a legal culture of protection child abuse is fostered among local actors in the justice system, thereby addressing the root cause of continuing abuses.
Community engagement: WCC provides information and empowerment to communities to stop violence against children through the use of radio programming, legal rights clubs, support groups, community sensitization sessions and information materials, which address the issues of child sexual abuse and all forms of violence against children. By increasing the capacity of community members to prevent child sexual abuse within their communities, community members begin to develop an understanding of, and respect for children’s rights and support their protection.
Level/nature of staff expertise required
All WCC staff possess extensive experience in child protection programming and direct service delivery. They include:
- A Country Director with broad international programming background in Child Protection
- A Programme Manager with extensive field-based knowledge and skills
- Advocates who directly provide court representations in the courts of law for child survivors/victims
- Legal officers, who facilitate appropriate out-of-court remedies including, but not limited to, legal mediation, legal counselling and case monitoring
- Legal Assistants who take cases, screen clients for appropriate services, facilitate referrals and facilitate legal education/awareness sessions
- Training and Outreach staff who deliver capacity-enhancement services from training of actors to dialogue with community and duty bearers
- Qualified operational and administrative support staff, who provide specialized services in the areas of finance and administration, human resources and public relations and logistics and security
Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)
WCC engages with victims (survivors), situations and community targets at three prevention levels: primary, secondary and tertiary.
- Weekly mobile legal aid help desks within communities take in cases and monitor and facilitate situational prevention in at-risk places
- Daily operation of clinic-based toll-free helplines to interface with targets
- Daily operation of legal aid clinic and management of cases
- Daily court representation of cases
- Monthly dialogue meetings with actors, duty bearers and communities
Description of intervention
WCC’s programme addresses child sexual abuse key issues by simultaneously undertaking three actions: legal intervention through providing direct legal aid to survivors of child sexual abuse in need of protection, awareness raising through educating children and their communities on child sexual abuse prevention and response and capacity building of local and government actors within the legal and justice systems about children’s rights and need for protective environment for all children against child sexual abuse. The programme takes a three-pronged approach:
- Conflict-affected children and their communities are better able to access justice to protect children’s rights. The capacity of children and communities to articulate children’s rights is increased, particularly with respect to child sexual abuse. Children are empowered to seek justice and participate in the development of a representative legal infrastructure and system benefiting themselves and their communities.
- Strengthened protective environment for children within the legal sector. The rights of children are understood, respected and enforced within the legal regimes, including both traditional and formal justice systems. A legal culture of protection against and intolerance of child sexual abuse is fostered among local actors in the justice system (including lawyers, the judiciary, local councils, police, and probation and welfare officers).
- Increased capacity of community members to protect children within communities. As well as to understand and respect the rights of children and work to enforce rights. A safe environment for children to exercise their rights and seek protection is fostered and perpetuated; stigmatization of child sexual abuse survivors is reduced.
Informed by baseline information, a regular monitoring and evaluation framework is used at the field level to monitor progress at all points of focus. Established feedback loops involve girls and boys, and adults of different ages and sex. A process review of results and feedback is used to identify key areas for improvement and additional capacity building needs for interventions. Children, actors, community interest groups, and other community members are engaged through an array of avenues, including interviews and focus group discussions that assess and document the impact of intervention on the targets; feedback on the awareness raising sessions; the contribution that the community sensitizations have had on the changing legal environment within the targeted communities and satisfaction with quality of legal aid service delivery. For example; results from sensitization are assessed through the number and quality of community actions implemented successfully and the outcome of those actions, the number of advocacy/sensitization events held and the number of people who participated in those events.
To measure highlighted success, War Child Canada uses tools that include: quarterly work plans; activity plans and reports; attendance sheets (disaggregated by age and gender); ongoing databases of beneficiaries reached (number of participants, type of activity, date/time of activity, proposed goal and outcome obtained) and photos of project activities. Quarterly and final narrative reports compiled to report on overall success in meeting targets.
War Child Canada also document results and lessons learned from interventions, to evaluate the methods used and to contribute to the knowledge base surrounding child protection and the importance of community participation in maintaining an equitable and protective environment for children. The implementation of the M&E logical framework is undertaken by a technical team within Uganda. Oversight is provided by the War Child Canada Country Director with technical support from the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager at War Child Canada’s headquarters in Toronto.
War Child Canada’s global strategic plan; War Child Canada Legal aid service evaluation report; Reports and War Child, Child Protection policy
248-67 Mowat Ave.,
Charitable Reg. # 87237 4426 RR0001
Information correct at 2023