One of CERESAV’s main objectives is raising awareness of acid violence, both within Uganda and internationally. This is achieved through social media, TV interviews, and Ugandan newspapers. We also advocate for changes in the laws related to the sale and distribution of acid, and punishment of perpetrators of acid violence. This has involved the publication of articles calling for changes to the proposed legislation (Proposed Acid Attack Bill Terribly Inadequate, Dr. James Lutaaya; Now is the Time for Acid Acquisition Legislation, Dr. James Lutaaya) and meeting with members of the Ugandan parliament to lobby for the adoption of stricter acid legislation.
Our legal services department aims to ensure justice from the time the crime is committed to the completion of the trial.
CERESAV legal representatives meet with survivors after their attack to understand how the attack happened, whether it was reported to the police and any police feedback at the time of the report. We obtain medical records for use in court proceedings and are in regular correspondence with the police to ensure all pertinent evidence is available for trial.
In Uganda, when an acid attack is reported to the police, it automatically becomes a state case and prosecution attorneys are appointed to work with the survivors. However, in many cases, a new prosecuting attorney is present each time the survivor is called for testimony, and the new attorney is often not familiar with the case.
CERESAV legal representatives keep in touch with the state prosecutor to ensure a speedy and fair trial. We are present in the court room during proceedings and keep in contact with the state prosecutor to get updates on the case. We are able to advise and support the survivor accordingly.
Our long term goal is to offer acid attack survivors private prosecution in consultation with the crown prosecution to provide a more personalized and efficient option to survivors. (This would be within the limitations of the law and with the consent of the Attorney General or of the DPP before the commencement of proceedings.) The CERESAV legal team is currently building relationships with several judicial bodies in Kampala to facilitate this arrangement in the future
CERESAV counselors see over 50 acid and burns violence victims at Mulago Hospital every week and provide counseling, food and medical supplies. The unit is poorly equipped and often not able to provide even the most basic of medical supplies, including fresh water, wound dressings, and pain medications. CERESAV works to secure donations of supplies within Uganda and internationally. Interested in donating medical supplies? Please see our Get Involved page for more information.
CERESAV counselors make regular visits to Mulago Hospital Burns Unit. They bring messages of hope and resilience to survivors in the acute phase of their recovery. But sometimes, given the enormity of the pain survivors are experiencing, it’s difficult for them to feel any hope at all. By joining the Interfaith Prayer Team, you sign up to receive weekly emails with the name and picture of a particular survivor, along with a specific prayer requested by the survivor or their counselor.
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CERESAV counselors also reach out through home visits to survivors who are isolated and disabled, to provide them with counseling and engage them in CERESAV activities.
Survivor support meetings
CERESAV also hosts quarterly survivor support group meetings at the CERESAV office. Survivors come from all over the country (sometimes even from neighboring countries!) to attend, joining together to support each other in their rehabilitation.
CERESAV counselors provide training in self-care strategies for medical personnel working at Mulago Hospital Burns Unit. CERESAV counselors receive training through the Global Psychosocial Network (GPN), an international group of mental health providers who provide psychosocial support for other professionals and volunteers engaged in humanitarian, organizational, and activist work in conflict and disaster zones. Interested in learning more about GPN or becoming a GPN provider? Please contact the GPN team to learn more.
CERESAV offers adult education courses in business, craft skills, and computer/internet training. These courses are designed to help empower the survivors by providing them skills that allow them to build self-confidence and enter back in to the workforce. The computer/internet training are our most popular courses, as these help survivors learn to navigate the internet, create an email address and social media accounts, and develop a resume.