Fighting for justice and living a dignified life is one of the main aims of Maiti Nepal. Without legal actions and changes, the progress made by the organization and the survivors are at the risk of being lost. Thus, Maiti Nepal actively conducts prosecution processes for survivors of many different crimes through its legal department. A solid legal backbone is a must to ensure that convicted parties undergo proper legal action to keep such inhumane activities from repeating themselves.
The Legal Aid Section, located at the central office in Kathmandu, consists of a legal advisor and a specialist. On average, the department handles 5 to 8 domestic violence cases and 2 to 3 cases of missing children and girls every day.
Through this legal section, Maiti Nepal provides legal support to survivors of trafficking, handles referrals, and deals with 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.
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. If the decision is unsatisfactory, an appeal is filed with the concerned appellate court and Supreme Court through the government Attorney General Office. However, not all cases go to court, as Maiti Nepal lawyers pursue informal and alternative dispute resolution methods like counseling, mediation, and negotiation prior to litigation.
On a client’s first visit, their complaint, personal data, and the type of assistance sought are recorded. Whether the client requires additional support, including shelter and psychosocial counseling, is also assessed. After registering the application, the opposite party is notified by phone and is invited to Maiti Nepal’s office to discuss the problem. During dispute settlement, alternative means are prioritized through negotiations and multiple follow-up sessions. A case is filed only as a last resort when all attempts at mediation fail. In such conditions, Maiti Nepal Legal Aid Section refers the cases to related sectors.
The legal aid service is provided from transit centers, prevention homes, and Maiti Nepal head office. In most domestic violence cases, mediation is provided. Cases that cannot be mediated are referred to the police or National Women Commission.
A team of lawyers handles the entire process and supports the victims.
- To raise awareness against the trafficking of women and children by conducting social awareness campaigns with legal and social perspectives.
- To provide free legal assistance to trafficked/raped victims in court, destitute women, victims of domestic violence, sexual abuses, and women seeking foreign employment.
- To investigate missing person cases, especially related to young girls and women.
- Assist different district offices of Maiti Nepal in tracing missing persons and sending important information to our sister organizations in India.
Legal Counseling provided
- To survivors of human trafficking and rape who need counseling and legal support
- To victims of domestic violence that comprises of violence committed by other members of the family; wife battering, verbal and corporal abuse, polygamy, sexual assault by husband, rape, alcohol, and drug abuse; deprival of necessities like food, shelter, clothing, medical amenities by the husband or the family of the husband
- To families of missing persons
- To references that have directly come to the Central Office or the Branch Office
- To any person attending awareness campaigns conducted by Maiti Nepal
While protecting high-risk individuals and groups and survivors is a must, equally important is to help these individuals and groups participate in society to help them assimilate better. The ultimate goal of Maiti Nepal is to make these individuals independent and capable of living a dignified life outside of the protection homes and shelters, thus making participation vital for them.
Maiti Nepal ensures the participation of the rescued women and children in life outside the shelter and protection homes through various activities that help them keep up with the outer world and develop essential skills to navigate their way.
The Child Rights Convention (CRC) has four components which are survival development, protection, and participation. As per the convention, Maiti Nepal ensures participation activities that not only provides basic needs but also ample opportunities to the children like –
- Right to education
- Dance and musical therapy
- Excursion visits
- Involvement in peer groups and clubs
- Musical context
- Mass awareness and advocacy lobbying
- Sports Tournaments
- Yoga and meditation
- Other various intellectually guided activities for holistic growth of the children such as essay competition, Science fair, and quiz
- To empower, involve, and spread awareness to the children with regards to anti-human trafficking activities
- Capacity building in Gender-based violence
- Development as a change agent
- Development of resilience towards various forms of violence against women and girls after reintegration with society