Enhancing women’s rights through legal assistance and representation, as well as providing forensic evidence and strengthening local capacities to prevent and monitor abuses, is critical to restoring balance and ensuring protection for survivors and their communities. The Panzi Legal Clinic helps file hundreds of complains per year linked to sexual and gender-based violence and supports survivors with reparations kits.
The Panzi Legal Clinic works with vulnerable women and survivors of sexual violence throughout Bukavu and, through its rural clinics, in the territories of Kabare, Kalehe, and Walungu as well, increasing the number of successful prosecutions in each. The rural clinics also play a key role in referring women in need of emergency medical care to Panzi Hospital, and referring relevant cases to our Maison Dorcas after-care center for safe shelter, support, and community reintegration services.
The Legal Clinic’s robust and dynamic public awareness initiatives have contributed to greater awareness and understanding of human rights issues and, in particular, women’s rights as enshrined by Congolese and international law, throughout the rural territories. Through persistent advocacy, our legal teams have also made significant progress in working with judicial authorities to reduce the duration of time it takes to close a case and obtain judgement. Through meetings and one-on-one targeted discussions with legal administrators and authorities, Panzi has cut time to process certain cases in half from six to three months, and some sexual violence cases now take as little as two months.