History of development and achievements
From the beginning of 2009 until the official registration of the legal entity NGO “Information Resource Center” Legal Space “, we worked as a unit within the Kherson Regional Foundation for Mercy and Health (HOFMZ) to create a coalition of NGOs that provide free legal aid under Initiatives to strengthen the legal capacity of the poor with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation.
In 2011, we launched a series of documentaries, New Heroes, in collaboration with HOFMZ and the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. “New Heroes” are three documentary films-portraits of ordinary Ukrainians. The average person is often isolated from information about available legal opportunities that can help them improve their living conditions – start a business, help unite the community in the protection of communal property, rights and interests. “New Heroes” – three stories about how it is possible to overcome injustice if you make an effort, do not be afraid and do not break under the pressure of circumstances. Each of the heroes has a story, but they also have one thing in common – their struggle against injustice in the country today.
Since 2012, our team has been administering the Legal Space portal (http://legalspace.org/).
The Legal Space Information Platform is a tool for raising awareness of problems and threats in small and medium-sized cities of Ukraine, disseminating information on how to solve them through collecting and publishing success stories, which inspires people with hope and faith in the possibility of solving problems in a legal way. and unites society. The platform has also developed online and offline legal advice services.
Successful examples, instructive stories and legal advice are constantly covered on the Legal Space portal in the Military Assistance section. In 2015, 163 articles were collected.
In this section you can get acquainted with the forms of assistance, life stories of internally displaced persons and the results of the work of public organizations that currently work in the east of our country and provide support to displaced persons. In 2020, 154 materials were published in this section.
After the annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, non-governmental organizations began to protect the rights of Crimean citizens who moved to mainland Ukraine, but do not forget about those citizens of our country who remained in fact occupied. News from the peninsula, monitoring the observance of the rights of Crimeans, overcoming discrimination against Crimeans in Ukraine - this is in the section "Protection of the rights of Crimeans". During the year, 20 materials were collected.
One of the most requested by users of the portal is the section "NGO Security", which was created and filled in 2014. As a non-governmental organization, protect itself from inspectors and maintain internal documentation, collect and store personal data of employees. These and other questions in this section contain explanations and recommendations of lawyers, samples of documents.
Since its inception, the team has worked to introduce a system of free legal aid in Ukraine, namely primary legal aid (legal advice and information) and secondary legal aid (representation in court and protection from prosecution). Since 2013, the organization has been one of the founders and coordinator of an informal network of legal development - a union of civil society organizations that develop local communities through the provision of free legal aid. In 2015, the union was registered as the Network of Legal Information and Consultation Centers (CPIC), in 2016 the CPIC Network became the Legal Development Network and unites 25 organizations in 17 regions of Ukraine. These organizations, on the basis of which the Network's offices are established, provide the population with basic information on legal issues, accompany the most high-profile cases in courts, actively cooperate with local governments to solve individual problems and protect public interests, implement alternative conflict resolution and leadership.
In 2016, the team of the IRC "Legal Space" published a book "One step ahead" about the history of formation and key achievements of the Legal Development Network. The statistics presented in the book, living success stories and the experience of cooperation of the Network's offices with local governments clearly demonstrate the scale of the Network's offices' contribution to ensuring Ukrainian access to legal aid, in particular through the Legal Space web resource and its online services.
The electronic version of the Ukrainian version is available at the link http://legalspace.org/ua/biblioteka/item/7954-na-krok-poperedu
The book was presented at the International Conference "Strengthening the Legal Capacity of Communities" in Kharkiv on October 21-22, 2016. an English translation of the book was published in 2017 http://legalspace.org/en/library/item/8791-a-step-ahead
During the Maidan and the Revolution of Dignity, the team as an initiative group focused its efforts on defending the European vector of Ukraine's development, in particular coordinated Maidan volunteers in Kherson and was one of the organizations that formed the volunteer movement and the Kherson Military Fund in the Kherson Regional State Administration. counteracting potential aggression by pro-Russian forces. Since the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the beginning of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, we have had to learn to adapt to new problems and new categories of clients. Local governments were often too weak, corrupt, or unprepared to respond quickly and effectively to such challenges. Then we joined forces with the CPICs in Kherson, Odesa, Chernihiv, Bila Tserkva, Chuhuiv, and Kovel to provide free legal assistance to mobilized Ukrainian army and anti-terrorist operation participants, went to military bases and positions, and helped provide troops in the south and east. borders everything necessary and revive the army.
In 2014, the documentary "Rotation" was created. "Assol", "Southern Border" together with the Kherson Regional Foundation for Mercy and Health and the International Documentary Film Festival on Human Rights Docudays UA:
- D/f "Rotation": for more than 6 months the fighters of the 13th Chernihiv Territorial Defense Battalion have been on the front line under constant shelling from Russia;
- D/f "Assol": the story of "Assol" began with the tragic events of 2009, when Somali pirates seized the ship "Ariadne" with a Ukrainian crew on board;
- D/f "Southern Border": in the spring of 2014, the Russian Federation invaded the territory of Ukraine and annexed the Crimean peninsula.
In the first half of 2016, a mobile group consisting of a psychologist, a lawyer and a coordinator visited 11 remote district centers in the Kherson region. During the trip, seminars "Overcoming the post-traumatic syndrome" and "Benefits and social guarantees" were held for members of the ATO, their families and residents of the Kherson region who suffered as a result of the war in eastern Ukraine. As a result, 351 participants of field psychological and legal seminars received information about the benefits enshrined in current legislation, the procedures for their registration. In addition, thanks to the psychologist, the participants understood how the leader's behavior differs from the victim's behavior. Some of them undertook to actively defend their rights, to issue state-guaranteed benefits. Also participants of anti-terrorist operation understood how the physical wound differs from mental and almost for the first time spoke about need of psychological support.
In 2016, we established the Kherson School of Concerned Citizens "Life after the ATO" in partnership with the Kherson Regional Charitable Foundation "Source of Life", the Center for Assistance to ATO Participants in the KHOD, Kherson Regional Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid in Kherson region.
Coordinators of ATO Assistance Centers at district administrations, volunteers, representatives of ATO veterans' unions, local self-government bodies and executive authorities of the district level, librarians, chairmen (or secretaries) of village and settlement councils of Kherson region were invited to participate. That is, those people to whom demobilized anti-terrorist operation participants and their families turn for help.
During the first year of study at the School, 22 community leaders from 11 districts of the region and the city passed
Kherson managed to form a network of active citizens in the Kherson region, able to resolve conflicts and problems in their communities. Our goal was also to spread the experience of applying best practices of psychological and legal assistance, rehabilitation and resocialization, including from specialists from Israel and the United States, demobilized members of the ATO, their families and residents of Kherson region affected by the war in eastern Ukraine. Currently, the graduates of the School are actively applying the gained successful experience, providing psychological and legal assistance to anti-terrorist operation veterans, members of their families and victims of the war in eastern Ukraine. They help ATO veterans and members of their families on the ground to overcome the post-traumatic syndrome, inspire them to live a healthy psychological and social life.
They help the military to realize their value as individuals, to realize their responsibility for choosing a system of values for themselves and for the country, to inspire more active actions to protect democracy in Ukraine.
The training was conducted within the project "Promoting the social adaptation of ATO participants and their families through the provision of psychological and legal assistance" with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation.
In May-October 2016, a pilot project "From Culture to Economy" was successfully implemented in cooperation with Kherson City Council, Kherson Regional State Administration, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania in Kherson region, Kherson businessmen, which held "Days of Lithuania in Kherson" and Kherson region in Lithuania ”. The project is aimed at developing horizontal relations between Ukrainians and EU countries (Lithuanians), building a "bridge" for dialogue, preservation of cultural heritage, intersectoral cooperation (CSOs + government + business). Attracted funding at the local level (KHODA, Kherson businesses) - the equivalent of 10,000 Euros.
Protection of cultural heritage: advocacy campaign for the protection of the medieval Vytautas Tower or the Watchtower (the village of Vesele, Beryslav district, Kherson region).
The The Watchtower is a unique building, the oldest stone building in the Kherson region, which has been preserved almost completely. It is a common heritage of Ukraine and Lithuania and has not only great historical significance, but also tourist potential. Its preservation is extremely important, and given the existing threats, it is a priority both for our Organization and for the cultural community of Ukraine and Lithuania.
Thanks to the advocacy campaign conducted in autumn 2016, the Watchtower was included in the State Register of Immovable Architectural Monuments of Ukraine of local significance with a defined protection zone and with a recommendation after additional research to include it in the list of monuments of national importance. In 2018, the Watchtower was awarded the status of an architectural monument of national importance. In 2019, we obtained approval of the project of the protection boundaries of the Tower by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine.
«Safe City» Platform
In September 2016, the Memorandum of Cooperation in the implementation of the project "Safe City: uniting efforts for quality change in the community" was signed by 6 partner NGOs in Kherson: NGO "Public Center" New Generation ", NGO" Charity and Health Foundation ", NGO IRC "Legal Space", HCC "Successful Woman", NGO "Kherson Club of Extreme Journalism", Regional Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid in Kherson region.
And in early 2017, a platform for tripartite cooperation "Safe City" was created between NGOs, police and city residents. Its participants made efforts to increase the legal awareness of the population, increase the level of professionalism of patrol police officers, increase the level of interaction between local governments, police and the public, and aimed at creating a safe environment in the community. In 2017, the Legal Space.
Information Resource Center together with the police and public organizations of Kherson developed five algorithms for behavior in dangerous situations. The developed algorithms provide step-by-step tips for ordinary residents on how to act in dangerous situations. These are not only legal advice, but also medical, psychological and even preventive measures. Recommendations were prepared for the residents of Kherson, but can help everyone, because the principles of conduct are universal, and selected crimes are common.
In March 2017, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the NGO IRC Legal Space and the Executive Committee of the Kherson City Council. In April 2017, the Kherson City Council submitted for consideration and approval a jointly prepared draft decision on amendments to the decision of the Kherson City Council № 1504 of September 12, 2014 "On some issues of free primary legal aid in Kherson."
In August 2017, the regular session approved the decision № 825 of the Kherson City Council "On amendments to the decision of the Kherson City Council" On amendments to the decision of the Kherson City Council № 1504 of September 12, 2014 "On some issues of free primary legal aid in Kherson ”. From November 2017 to August 2020, the organization's lawyers provide free legal aid in office 115 of the Kherson City Council. The organization is the only public organization in Kherson, which on the terms of a free loan was provided for the use of premises in the city center, with an area of 49.3 sq.m. and office 115 in the building of the Kherson city council (on the 1st floor), which is very convenient for residents to receive free primary legal aid.
During 2018-2019, the number of legal consultations provided doubled. Every month, lawyers processed up to 290 requests for free primary legal aid (which is 18.1 BPPD per day) and amounted to about 18.75 legal documents. These indicators of treatment indicate an increase in demand for BPPD by the territorial community of the city and a high level of trust in the NGO "IRC" Legal Space ".
In 2019, an initiative group of representatives of the NGO "IRC" Legal Space ", the regional branch of the Sociological Association of Ukraine, Kherson regional organization of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, representatives of deputies and local governments conducted a survey" Access to legal services among vulnerable groups in Kherson " within the framework of the Program "Sustainable Community - 2019".
Vulnerable socially vulnerable groups of the population of Kherson were studied, namely pensioners, persons with disabilities, parents in large families, single mothers, "Chernobyl victims", internally displaced persons, anti-terrorist operation participants, etc. It was found that every second Kherson resident from the socially vulnerable segments of the population needs legal assistance. In total, almost three-quarters of respondents (74%) had some life problems within three years that required a legal solution, but many people cannot take the first step to solve existing problems and take action. In general, representatives of vulnerable groups believe that it is quite difficult to protect their rights in Ukraine. In imaginary people, barriers to protection of rights arise not at the state level (low-quality laws), but at the level of interaction with officials at the local level.
During the preparation of conclusions on how to solve the identified problems, two previous similar studies were analyzed. According to the results of the IRC "Legal Space" received financial support from the Kherson City Council to provide free primary legal aid to vulnerable groups of the community of Kherson in the amount of 21 thousand UAH, and in 2020 from the city budget was allocated 100 thousand UAH.
In April 2017, the campaign "Kherson, a territory free of violence" was launched, supported by a Coalition of NGOs from 17 NGOs, including the IRC "Legal Space". Together with the Kherson City Center for Social Services for Families, Children and Youth and the Department of Social Policy of the KHMR, its representatives took the initiative to the city council deputies, developed draft regulations, possible location, and held public hearings. As a result of the coalition's efforts, a Crisis Center for Women Victims of Violence has appeared in Kherson.
In 2019-2020, the Organization won competitions for information and promotional campaigns of the public budget of the city of Kherson for funding from the local budget.
“Sheriffs for New Communities”
The organization has three years of experience in a joint project "Sheriffs for New Communities" with the Charity and Health Foundation, the online newspaper "Up" and the DOCU / CLUB Network - a legal education project of the International Documentary Film Festival on Human Rights Docudays UA.
Sheriffs for New Communities is a project launched in 2018 to share the successful experience of small communities in organizing safe environments. As part of the project, we collect information and discuss public safety issues in rural areas in Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Poltava and Khmelnytsky regions, analyze the effectiveness of police reform and decentralization. More information at https://sheriffua.org/