Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone

by AdvocAid
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Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone

Project Report | Jan 2, 2024
The role of mediation in addressing family dynamics surrounding incarcerated women and girls

By Namsa Thoronka | Paralegal

In the realm of criminal justice, the impact of incarceration extends far beyond the individual behind bars. When it comes to incarcerated women and girls, their families and communities often bear the weight of their absence and the complex dynamics that arise as a result. In this month’s we share a case highlighting the critical role of mediation in addressing the family dynamics surrounding incarcerated women and girls in Sierra Leone. Specifically, it focuses on the case of a 17-year-old school-going girl who found herself entangled in the criminal justice system. Through the invaluable work of AdvocAid, we critically look at how mediation can be a transformative tool in bridging gaps, fostering understanding, and ultimately, rebuilding fractured family relationships affected by the experience of incarceration.

A 17-year-old secondary school student named Agnes (not her real name) was detained during one of the police raids in Freetown on suspicion of drug use. She claimed that she was travelling to see her aunt in the hopes of obtaining welfare and assistance for her studies. Her detention put her educational goals at risk.
Her circumstances required our social worker and paralegal to step in right away. The paralegal advised the social worker to get in touch with Agnes' mother. Her mother was very upset and express disappointment with Agnes’ actions and decision to use drugs, which resulted in her refusing to be part of the intervention. She expressed her dissatisfaction with her daughter’s behaviour, and gave an emotional explanation of how Agnes’ father's lack of accountability had forced her to take on the role of the family's breadwinner. The social worker acknowledged the mother’s concerns and emphasized the importance of continuous parental guidance and support especially during this difficult time which will help Agnes make better life choices.
The social worker continued to provide insights regarding peer pressure and outside influences on the behaviours of youth. The explanations provided helped Agnes’ mother to understand her daughter's actions, and difficulties that young people generally encounter. She understood that her daughter's actions were not  the product of her own parenting shortcomings.

Ultimately, AdvocAid’s social worker and paralegal were able to work with Agnes’ mother through mediation. They went with her to the police station in order to support her and help her get back in touch with her daughter. Agnes was granted bail after the paralegal successfully argued for her release, highlighting her status as a secondary school student getting ready for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASCE). Agnes was very thankful to the AdvocAid staff, “ I am happy that you are here. I would have spent another night in a police cell. I should be in school and not in a police cell.”

This case study highlights the importance of outreach and mediation in addressing family dynamics between incarcerated women and girls. By bridging the gap, these initiatives can lead to understanding, support, and positive outcomes. The case of Agnes' mother demonstrates the transformative power of mediation.

AdvocAid's success on providing legal interventions, psycho-social support and mediation on cases like Agnes’ will not be possible without your generous contributions. Thank you for your continued support.

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Sep 11, 2023
A successful mediation by paralegal

By Thabile Cele | Project Leader

May 20, 2023
Creative partnerships to advance access to justice

By Rebecca Mweru Kabejja | Advocacy Specialist

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Organization Information


Location: Freetown, Western Region - Sierra Leone
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @advocaid
Project Leader:
Margaret Namaganda
Freetown , Western Region Sierra Leone
$39,061 raised of $55,000 goal
1,290 donations
$15,939 to go
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