Lawyers against Abuse (LvA) provides free legal services and psycho-social support to victims of sexual and domestic violence in one of South Africa's most disadvantaged communities. Diepsloot, an informal settlement north of Johannesburg, is home to over 500,000 people, yet LvA is the only organization of its kind working in the community. LvA also works closely with local police and courts to ensure victims of gender-based violence are treated with dignity and respect when seeking justice.
Violence against women and children is an epidemic in South Africa. In the community of Diepsloot, where LvA works, rates of domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse are staggeringly high. In a recent survey, 78.8% of community members identified domestic violence and sexual violence as the two most common form of violence in the community. Furthermore, many women lack meaningful access to legal relief and often suffer secondary trauma when seeking justice through the police and court
LvA provides free legal services and psycho-social support to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse in Diepsloot. LvA assists clients in obtaining protection orders, provides support in criminal cases of rape and assault, and ensures the police and courts are responsive to victims' needs. LvA also provides individual and group psycho-therapy, works in schools with teachers and students around sexual violence, and facilitates community workshops to empower women and girls.
This project will provide hope, healing and justice to hundreds of sexual and domestic violence victims, thus breaking the cycle of abuse and freeing survivors to move on with their lives. LvA's innovative community-based model involves direct client support, community education and awareness-raising, as well as ongoing engagement with state actors. LvA believes that by changing attitudes, we can also change behavior, and ultimately transform the lives of individuals, families, and communities.