Amélie, trainee at the legal department of the association, explains its importance and operation in the process of helping women who are victims of violence.
What is your function within NPNS? How did you come to work with them? Why?
I am a trainee lawyer in the legal department of NPNS. During my masters in Criminology and Criminal Sciences, I was accepted into a program that allows you to do a training of several months within a structure in the second semester. Having studied a BTS in Family and Social Economics and worked in the gendarmerie in the domestic violence department, I wanted to do my internship in the community and more particularly in supporting victims. That’s why this role within NPNS was perfect for me.
How would you define the association, its actions, its values, what it defends?
In general, the main values of the association are in the motto: Equality, Secularity, Diversity. The association defends a universalist feminism. Its priority is helping women who have been victims of violence, their rehabilitation and school interventions to raise awareness of respect. It is imporrtant to work on the consequences of the violence, but also on the causes, and so carrying out school interventions is essential. To change attitudes, it is important to educate and teach respect from an early age.
What kind of files does the association’s legal department work on? How does it work?
Within the legal department of the association, there are no lawyers. Our role is mainly to give advice and we explain to women the steps they can take and the procedures to follow, as well as the consequences in relation to their situation. Part of our role is also reassuring women. Many women come to the association with their children, they are afraid of losing custody of these children. In this case, our role is to reassure and guide them in the best way to help them in the proceedings before the family court. In the event that their proceeding are dismissed, we explain to them why, and the various options available to them. In the event that women do not wish to press charges, we do not urge them to do so, but explain to them the consequences for their future as the case may be, pressing charges or not.
What is the procedure to follow when a woman victim comes to ask for help? How does the association help her concretely?
When a woman comes to ask for help, we first make an appointment at the association, where she explains the reasons she has come, and what she expects from us. In the event that the association cannot respond to the woman’s demands, we always direct her to the right structure that can help. Alternatively, we arrange another appointment with one of our departments, according to the person’s needs whether they are social, psychological and / or legal, in order for them to receive concrete help. They can then return regularly to ensure follow-up. For the legal division, our work stops when the lawyers take over, unless they want advice throughout the procedure. We also work a lot by email with women who do not live in the Paris region, and therefore can not come in person.
What is the percentage of women who get out of their situation after being helped by the association?
In general, a woman who comes for help to the association already has the idea and determination to leave home. But most of the women we follow return home several times before leaving the marital home. The most difficult step for these victims is stepping through our door.
What did the association bring you personally and professionally?
Working for NPNS brought me a lot of knowledge about feminism, and foreigners’ rights. This internship also allowed me to further develop my autonomy, my perseverance and strengthened my convictions for working with victims of violence. Did this interview motivate you to join the legal department of the association and you wish to donate your time? You can apply for a civic service or an internship by sending your CV and cover letter specifying the roles you want to perform and your availability to firstname.lastname@example.org