Provision of Legal Assistance

Vulnerable children, both accused and abused, fight against unfriendly legislation, public ignorance and under-representation in court.

The Children Act calls for the Government to provide legal assistance as a due process right to children who cannot acquire such on their own. However this is yet to be accomplished and many children go unrepresented in court. This leads to miscarriage of justice.

Why legal Aid at CLAN?

CLAN has been working in this field for the past fourteen years. As a result of this direct service delivery system it has generated unique experiences and information on legal aid for children.

It is these unique experiences and information that CLAN would like to use in the replication of legal aid services for children as a model in other towns and districts in Kenya. Through these unique experiences and information generated from practice, CLAN will continue influence and inform policy towards the realisation of free legal aid for all children in Kenya as is espoused in the Children Act.

Objectives

– Provide free legal assistance to child victims of abuse and those in conflict with the law

– To provide a comprehensive victim support service by engaging all relevant professionals, service providers and other partners.

Activities

CLAN’s programme on free legal assistance is a direct frontline service delivery system, which gives preference to free legal representation as an entry point in child protection. This is in relation to children in conflict with the law, and child victims of abuse. However, free legal representation per se does not address a child in
totality. Every issue that affects a child has social, psychological and emotional implications that often spread through the rest of the child’s family. With good reason, CLAN will seek to enhance its direct service
delivery system that will take the following dimensions:

– Free legal representation of children
CLAN advocates will provide free legal services to children by direct court representation or organizing watching briefs. They will also provide free legal advice on children’s issues to members of the public at the CLAN secretariat.

CLAN will therefore seek to strengthen its legal assistance component in order to cope with this increasing demand for its services.

– Victim Support

To give an all-round support to provision of free legal services, CLAN will engage other professionals to provide the followingservices: Counselling; Pre-trail briefings for child victims of abuse and child witnesses

– Mediation and Family Support

CLAN has tapped into mediation as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism (ADR). Many problems affecting
children are as a result of disputes between parents. Most disputing parents are deeply involved emotionally hence the need to apply a less confrontational, faster, and less adversarial method of dispute resolution. The primary beneficiaries of this method are children for it helps strengthen families and minimize situations that would expose children to further vulnerabilities resulting from broken families.