Case Advocates Help Survivors Reach Services

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Expert's Take

Case Advocates Improve Uptake of Violence Against Children Services Across Different Service Delivery Points in Public Health Facilities

By Lina Digolo, LVCT Health

The uptake of health services by child survivors of violence is a growing challenge, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. A major factor contributing to this is the inability of health care workers to provide extra support in facilitating referral to and linkage of the child survivors across the various service delivery points. LVCT Health, a civil society organization in Kenya, sought to explore the acceptability of using lay health workers trained as case advocates to escort child survivors of violence to various referral points within two public health facilities in Kenya.

Best Practices/Promising Program

The case advocates were identified by the hospital administration from a pool of interns (university students and recent graduates) who were attached to each health facility. They were taken through a three-day training aimed at equipping the case advocates with basic information on violence against children, including types: the guiding principles for providing services to a child survivor of violence, how to communicate with children, and how to provide supportive referrals. 

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Post-training, the case advocates were stationed at the outpatient departments and tasked with escorting all child survivors and their caregivers through the various service delivery points. Each case worker was attached to an LVCT mentor for continued support offered during monthly face-to-face meetings. Perceptions of the usefulness of case advocates were assessed using in-depth interviews with the children and interviews and focus groups with caregivers.

Results

The use of case workers to support child survivors of violence was acceptable to children, caregivers, and health workers. Caregivers and child survivors reported that the case advocates were useful in fast-tracking access to services, easing the movement through health facilities, and helping them communicate their issues to the different service providers. 

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Health workers reported improved timeliness and completeness of services due to the involvement of the case advocates. Overall, the intervention led to an increase in the number of child survivors who received comprehensive services from the two health facilities during the study period.

Key considerations for improving access to comprehensive services by child survivors of violence are as follows:

  • Identification of individuals who can work as escorts for child survivors across the different service delivery points
  • Training and continuous mentor-ship of the lay workers

Learn More:

This spotlight was pulled from “What Works to Prevent Sexual Violence Against Children,” a systematic review of proven solutions and best practices to prevent and respond to sexual violence against children and youth (SVAC). The review was completed in collaboration with a group of experts and allied organizations and highlights evidence-based solutions from around the world. Read the whole set of #SVSolutions Program Spotlights here.

Dr. Lina Digolo

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  • Author: Dr. Lina Digolo, LVCT Health, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Organization: LVCT Health
  • Strategy: Response & Support Services
  • Location: Nairobi, Kenya

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