Legal Aid Section, Central Office, Kathmandu:
Legal Aid Section is one of the integral entities of Maiti Nepal which consists of legal advisor, a specialist in this particular area. Through its legal aid section in its central office at Kathmandu, Maiti Nepal provides legal support to survivors of trafficking, handles referrals and deals with several daily requests for help in cases ranging from missing girls, rescue from brothels, incidents of domestic violence, child sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation, trafficking, rape and polygamy. On average, it handles five to eight cases of domestic violence and two to three cases of missing children and girls every day.
Survivors of trafficking are assisted in registering FIR and pleading their cases in court. Maiti Nepal extends its support until the district court reaches a decision and, if the decision is unsatisfactory, an appeal is filed with the concerned appellate court and Supreme Court through the government attorney’s general office. Not all cases go to court, however, as Maiti Nepal lawyers pursue informal and alternative methods of dispute resolution like counselling, mediation and negotiation prior to litigation.
On a client’s first visit, his or her complaint, personal data and the type of assistance sought are recorded. Whether or not he or she needs supplementary support, including shelter, psychosocial counselling is also assessed. After registering the application, the opposite party is notified by phone and invited to Maiti Nepal’s office to share/discuss the problem. Further in settling disputes alternative means are initiated. Negotiations are carried on over several follow-up sessions and only when all attempts at mediation fail, a case is filed. In such condition, Maiti Nepal Legal Aid Section refers the cases to related sectors.