Activist and lawyer Nighat Dad has launched a free online platform named as “bus aur nahien” for women who are victims of sexual harassment and gender-based violence and are seeking legal representation and-or psychological counselling. The initiative aims to link survivors who otherwise might not have access to these professionals to combat abuse and harassment.
Talking to a newspaper, Dad a renowned activist in this field explains, “It’s a platform which we as DRF people including female lawyers felt we needed to start because in the last one year we saw a spike in these cases and complaints, specifically to our helpline and our Facebook pages and to me, mostly after the Meesha Shafi case I took up. There hasn’t been much information around these services. People don’t know who to reach out to. In this digital age, these initiatives need to do much more to raise awareness about themselves and what they offer. There also needs to be much more conversation around legal aid.”
When you go to the website, you can reach the DRF team via email or click on ‘Speak to a Lawyer’ to get in touch with an attorney. Here’s how you can navigate your way through the site.
Details of the pro bono lawyers across Pakistan are on the portal. Victims/survivors can easily go to the portal and look into their respective cities and provinces and find lawyers in their locality.
Once you find the name of the lawyer, you click on it and you’ll see their bio, which will include their expertise, legal training, where they’re based.
There’s a small icon in the bio section with an email symbol when you click that it opens another window of a form which asks for your name, email and text where you talk about your case/complaint. You can write it in Urdu as well.
When you submit the form it automatically goes to that lawyer and DRF so that the team can follow up with the lawyers and victims/survivors around the case.