Access to Justice
Our Legal Unit works closely with our Care & Support department to assist survivors of gender-based violence and child sexual abuse as they navigate the criminal justice system. Creating a supportive and non-intimidating experience is a top priorities for us, as survivors of abuse can often be put in challenging and uncomfortable situations when dealing with government agencies, service providers and organizations – known as secondary victimization.
The Legal Unit
Through our Legal Unit, SWAGAA seeks to provide legal assistance to survivors of gender-based violence and child sexual assault in order to facilitate access to legal recourse when required. Services provided to survivors include: legal counselling, court preparation and legal aid. This program has extensive collaboration with key stakeholders including police, the Law Society, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and magistrates. The goal is to support clients in accessing justice.
What is Secondary Victimization
Survivors can have the unique experience of secondary victimization. This is when social service providers display behaviours or attitudes that are insensitive to the experiences of the victim or place the needs of the organization first. “Victim-blaming” by social service providers and institutions can re-traumatize the survivor and have long-term psychological impacts. This experience may be heightened when a survivors ability to access help from formal judicial structures in compromised.