Some of the Women who turn up during the Launch of the programme at FIDA offices in Kampala recently
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Sexual, gender based violence victims to get free legal services

Gender-based violence victims across the country will for the next 16 days get free legal services from the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA Uganda).

The aim is to bring the services closer to the victims who in most cases fear to get legal redress due to various reasons including lack of finances to hire private lawyers and long distances travelled to access the services.

According to Lilian Kobusingye, the programme officer at FIDA Uganda, they started the campaign by launching what they call Family Justice Desks where legal officers will be deployed in selected areas to offer free legal services to the community especially the most vulnerable.

Kobusingye explained that FIDA Uganda, in partnership with Democratic Governance Facility Uganda, is implementing the enhancement of access to justice for women and children project in Kampala, Lwengo, Kapchorwa, Kabale, Kamuli, Mbale and Arua districts.

“The overall objective of the project is to strengthen access to substantive justice through integrated intervention for the vulnerable and indigent person’s empowerment in order to bring legal services closer to the beneficiaries,” Kobusingye explained in Kampala recently.

According to her, the initiative is part of activities to mark the 16 days of activism against Gender based Violence and FIDA’s, free legal services exercises  will increase protection of women’s rights and enhance gender equality through addressing the root causes of vulnerability and powerlessness of women

She added that they have already set up family justice desks in Kasangati, Nsangi, Nabweru and Nebbi. These are set up at the courts so as to ensure women who require legal assistance at the courts can easily access the services of FIDA Uganda.

“The desks will be run by volunteers of FIDA Uganda. These family justice desks will ensure that women and children at the courts are able to access justice or services of a lawyer who will be able to give them legal assistance and advise on how to proceed with their matters,” she added.

BY SAMUEL NABWIISO