Fighting domestic abuse in Mozambique
BMS World Mission is helping bring access to justice in one of the poorest nations in the world, by giving people the empowerment of knowledge
You can’t report a crime if you don’t know you’re a victim. And that’s often the case for people in Mozambique. In a country with a tumultuous past, it’s not unusual for many people not to understand the law. Not to know your rights. But BMS workers and partners in Mozambique are changing that.
BMS lawyer Mark Barrell is working with the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers (AMAC). “The aim of AMAC is to provide access to justice to the most poor and vulnerable people,” says Mark. And in a country with only around 2,000 lawyers in a population of 30 million, AMAC’s work couldn’t be more necessary. The lawyers from AMAC work hard to provide advice, education and sometimes legal representation to those who need it.
The staff at the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers are committed to bringing justice to people who need it most.
“We support many different people in different circumstances,” says Mark. “But often the people we help will be women, whose status in Mozambican society can be very low.” AMAC regularly works with women who have been left by their husbands or partners and who don’t have the means to support their children. Women whose husbands have passed away and whose families are trying to take their homes. Women who are regularly subjected to domestic abuse. Women like Isabel*.
Isabel was abused by her husband. But she didn’t understand what domestic abuse was, or that it is illegal. Fortunately, AMAC was there to help.
AMAC regularly partners with local churches to hold education sessions where local people can learn about issues ranging from domestic abuse and inheritance to employment law. Isabel attended a session on domestic violence and was taught about what is defined as abuse, and why it’s wrong.
Isabel spoke to a lawyer on the AMAC team, who quickly realised that she was a victim of domestic abuse. Isabel was taken to the police station that same day to report the crime. “Often it can be difficult to get the police to take any action,” says Mark. “But on this particular occasion the person they saw launched an investigation very quickly, and it was soon referred to the local court.”
With the help of the AMAC lawyers, many vulnerable people have been helped out of difficult situations.
Just a few months later, Isabel’s husband was brought before a judge. The court placed a restriction on him, and he was told that he could face imprisonment if Isabel reported any further abuse.
If AMAC hadn’t been there, there’s no telling how long Isabel would have continued to suffer. But now Isabel can live without fear, and also in the encouragement of knowing that AMAC will keep helping other people like her. And that they are determined to keep bringing access to justice to those who need it.
There are so many more people just like Isabel in Mozambique who need AMAC’s support. Please pray for this vital work, so that more people can live without fear. Pray for:
Mark and Susanna Barrell, as they continue serving with BMS in Mozambique.
The work of AMAC, that it will continue to bring support to the most vulnerable people in Mozambique, and the wonderful Mozambican Christians who are partnering with BMS to make a difference.
Victims of abuse like Isabel in Mozambique and across the world, that they might know hope, justice and fullness of life.
For Mozambique as a country, that its people will be able to learn more about correct legal practices and learn their rights.
This story was originally published on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission