Support for the Teddy Bear Clinic
Pro BonoUK and Africa
The Teddy Bear Clinic is a nonprofit organization that provides medical and therapeutic services to children who have been raped or sexually abused in South Africa. We adopted the clinic as our chosen charity when it was formed more than 13 years ago. The relationship started with funding the organization on a monthly basis but grew to providing legal and management advice. Over the course of time, a number of directors have sat on the board of the Teddy Bear Clinic and provide corporate governance assistance to the organization.
Currently we run a number of projects with the clinic:
Court Preparation Program
Together with the social workers employed by the clinic, we run a court preparation program for the children whose cases are ready for prosecution. The clinic engages the child immediately when the crime is reported, and once the child has undergone medical treatment and psychological counseling, he or she then enters the court program, which helps the child to become a better witness in the criminal trial against the perpetrators. The program is also designed to teach the children life skills, and confidence and trust-building exercises are reinforced through the program. The entire program is done over the course of a year. Our lawyer and business services volunteers give up a Saturday morning for this program. For 2014, our program ran at the Soweto clinic, and it has now extended to the Krugersdorp clinic for 2015.
There were approximately 70 children and 40 adults that underwent the program in 2014. All the beneficiaries are from the Soweto area, which consists of a number of townships situated in the south of Johannesburg. A total of 27 volunteers from all levels of the firm contributed 173 hours.
Legal Advice Clinic
We run a legal advice clinic for parents of children who have been raped and sexually abused. This occurs on an ad hoc basis and deals with family issues that arise as a result of the abuse. The beneficiaries are the parents of the patients of the clinic, and they come from all over Johannesburg to the offices of the Teddy Bear Clinic for this advice. One example of where we have assisted is when a parent abuses a child and separates from the other parent but refuses to pay maintenance unless the charges are dropped. Another example is allegations of sexual abuse during divorce proceedings, where parties use that as leverage to get custody of their children. Approximately 45 hours were spent giving legal advice to parents in 2014.