Legal Aid Board trains 6 new Paralegals from Kono
The Legal Aid Board has organized a one-day training workshop for six newly recruited Paralegals in Freetown on Friday, 2 July 2021. This is part of an eight-month United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded project to support victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence using community Legal Aid Board structures in three chiefdoms – Soa, Kamara, Gbense – in the Kono District.
The Paralegals were trained on the Legal Aid Act 2012, Sexual Offences Act 2012 (As Amended 2019), Domestic Violence Act 2007, Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act 2007, Alternative Dispute Resolution through Mediation, Reporting, Data Collection Tools and primary justice services.
The support services will include working with partners at community level to monitor Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) to ensure such cases are reported to the police without any delay, monitor investigations to ensure the rights of victims and suspects are respected, stop any attempts to compromise these cases and raise awareness on the offences and penalties under the Sexual Offences Act 2012 (As amended 19) through community and school outreach events..
The Chairman for the opening session of the workshop, Mr. Francis Gabiddon welcomed the Paralegals and encouraged them to be prepared to serve their people with utmost commitment.
The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles said the Board has come a long way since its inception in May 2015. She stressed that public expectation is sky high noting that they will be under pressure to provide services even with limited resources. ‘The worst thing any one of you could do is demand money from poor people for the services you will be providing to them,’ she warned, adding that ‘Those who engage in such acts will be dismissed instantly’.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles called on the authorities to work with and support the Paralegals. ‘Our paralegal do not have enough resources to provide much needed services in the length and breadth of the chiefdom, your support will help to increase the delivery of our services,’ Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said.