What is Empowerment?
Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities. Empowerment of citizens concerns citizens gaining power and control over their own lives. It involves awareness-raising, building self-confidence, expansion of choices, increased access to and control over resources and actions to transform the structures and institutions which reinforce and perpetuate discrimination and inequality

What is Violence against Women (VAW)?
Article 1 of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 48/104 of 20 December 1993, defines the term “violence against women” as: “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical , sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women , including threats of such acts , coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

What are stereotypes?

A generalized set of traits and characteristics attributed to a specific ethnic, national, cultural or racial group which gives

What is social Justice

Fairness and equity as a right for all in the outcomes of development, through processes of social transformation.

What is sexual Health

A state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having 28 pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.

What is Sexuality?

Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of sexual violence. The term refers to one-sided, unwanted and unwelcome behaviour where sexuality and/or varied cultural constructions of sexuality are used as the means to oppress and position people and to produce or maintain vulnerability among them. Sexual harassment is often divided into two types: quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment.

What is sexual Exploitation?

Any abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes; this includes profiting momentarily, socially, or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.

What is sexual Assault?

Non-consensual sexual contact that is obtained through coercion or the use or threat of force. Sexual assault is a deliberate act of gender-based violence and an expression of power, control and domination over another. It is not a manifestation of uncontrolled desire, attraction or arousal. Sexual assault occurs in every socioeconomic level of society and in a variety of settings. Sexual assault may be perpetrated by non-state actors, such as acquaintances, dating partners, or intimate partners.

What is Rape?

Rape is the sexual penetration, however slight of any part of the body of the victim with a sexual organ, or of the anal or genital opening of the victim with any object or any other part of the body. The invasion is committed by force, or by threat of force or coercion, such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power, against such person or another person, or by taking advantage of a coercive environment, or committed against a person incapacitated.

What is Domestic Violence?

A pattern of abusive and threatening behaviours that may include physical, emotional, economic and sexual violence as well as intimidation, isolation and coercion. The purpose of domestic violence is to establish and exert power and control over another; men most often use it against their intimate partners, such as current or former spouses, girlfriends, or dating partners. Forms of domestic violence can include physical violence, sexual violence, economic control, and psychological assault.

What is SIFA?
SIFA is a civil society organization with interest in charity, gospel, free legal aid/counselling services to increase access to justice for poor and low income earners, training, mobilization, sensitization and advocacy for legal reforms.

Who can access SIFA legal aid services? 
Every citizen with an admissible report of denial, infringement of rights or is a victim of miscarriage of justice is eligible for support. There is no selection process and even inmates in selected Nigerian prisons are supported under PLHS.

How are cases selected for support?

Citizens seeking assistance have to report their issue directly or through referrals from individuals, institutions and partner organizations. A determination of admissibility is then made in line with the mandate of SIFA. The organization does not initiate divorce cases and only holds watching briefs in criminal prosecution cases to ensure the exercise of due diligence in the interest of its clients.
How many reports are treated in a week?An average of 5-6 reports are made daily at our offices making for an estimated 20-30 reports a week.

What are the procedures for case management?
An aggrieved citizenfiles a formal complaint of his or her situation. The complaint is classified, coded and a file opened using standard formats. Documentation is generated by or on his or her behalf with a written statement followed by a detailed interview. In keeping with the principle of the right to fair hearing, the party complained against is formally informed and invited for a session. Police reports or hospital reports are made where appropriate. Ultimately, joint or family sessions are convened in any of our offices.

What are the special areas of intervention?

SIFA has four core focus areas of interventions: 1. Harmful practices relating to disinheritance and dehumanising traditional practices. 2. Civil Rights of education, employment, tenancy/contracts, political representation. 3. Matrimonial issues of early/forced marriages, maintenance, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, divorce, and custody. 4. Humanitarian/material assistance especially school fees or welfare assistance to widows or divorcees.

Are there any charges or payments for SIFA Legal Aid Support?
Legal aid and counselling services are offered free of charge by SIFA staff and internal counsels. However, where a court case is supported by external counsels, support may be given on pro-bono terms to SIFA or a subsidized cost is negotiated by SIFA on behalf of the client.

What is the success rate of the legal aid cases?
Success is measured based on the cases that are conclusively ended either through court processes or mutual settlements guided, documented and monitored by SIFA. However those concluded in courts show a 60% success rate especially for civil issues. Criminal cases of rape, domestic violence and work place and sexual harassment have very low success rates.

What sort of legal aid awareness activities are conducted?
SIFA conducts human rights sensitization, advocacy and dialogue on common and specific location issues in States where it has a presence. In South the issues of widow disinheritance is prevalent, while in the North education, early and forced marriages take priority. Domestic violence, sexual harassment and employment issues cut across regional divides. Others include reproductive health violations, civil rights and responsibilities.

What are the problems that legal aid staffs encounter?

Legal aid clients come in with varied perceptions of the manner of engagement with the parties that may have aggrieved them. Many of them exhibit a desire for rapid results without recourse to the need due process, or the the principle of fair hearing which is a cardinal principle in SIFA. Consequently some show little or no appreciation for the support extended when it falls short of their expectations of quantum or time.

How the legal aid activities funded?
Legal aid activities are funded by the core funds of the organization as a primary responsibility. SIFA funds the venue, research and transportation of relevant speakers or certain participants. In larger projects or replication of pilot activities, SIFA seeks for grant support from Development Partners who share the objectives of the intervention.