On May 17 – July 4, 2018, with the support of the Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine Project, 19 training sessions were held for specialists from the centers providing free secondary legal aid (FSLA) from all regions of Ukraine aimed at developing communication “soft skills”. More than 320 specialists of the centers providing FSLA participated in the training.
The trainings were aimed at developing the skills of working with vulnerable groups of clients of the LA system for the employees of the centers providing FSLA, counseling and representing clients, in particular, victims of domestic violence and gender-based violence, children, ATO participants, internally displaced persons and elderly people.
The trainings conducted are a unique product developed by a team of experts, aimed at developing practical skills for working with vulnerable clients, in particular, establishing efficient communication, empathic listening, interviewing and counseling, etc., as well as taking into account ethical and value-based aspects when working with clients that serve as the basis for quality legal assistance and protection of human rights.
According to all participants, the issues covered by the trainings were very relevant for them in terms of working with vulnerable groups of clients. Everyone could emphasize something essential for their work:
“During the training, I learned about new methods of getting out of conflict situations with the client and establishing a contact between us”
“I have learned different kinds of listening to the client, in particular the empathic one, in order to understand the essence of the issue, ways of its solution. But at the same time – how not to “burn-out” morally.”
“I realized the importance of in-depth interviews, during which you learn the very essence of the client’s problem.”
“I realized how important it is to understand the mood and circumstances of a person for the full resolution of his or her problems.”
Most of the participants are very satisfied with the training, as reported in the results of the anonymous poll after their completion:
“The training has exceeded all of my expectations, as I learned new approaches in my work, acquired unbelievably cool skills to work with vulnerable groups of clients. The training entirely switched my imagination.”
“The training has far exceeded my expectations. During the training, in fact, we acquired practical skills that enable us to be more efficient in communicating with the citizens, which, in its turn, will greatly increase the efficiency of our work.”
“Friendly and working atmosphere, interesting and relevant topics. I really liked the trainers’ work and the way the training was organized. Information provided in an accessible way, afterwards consolidated by practical tasks”.
“The training has surpassed all my hopes. The trainers have come up with a very professional approach to the topic. Practical lessons have helped me learn a new approach to solving already familiar problems.”
“I learned to deal with fears, analyze and manage emotions, refine and develop the skills that I need in order to work with vulnerable clients.”
87% of the participants said that through the training they managed to develop the skills needed to work with vulnerable clients. 94% of the participants said they learned about new approaches that could be used to work with vulnerable client groups. 95% would recommend their colleagues to participate in such a training.
The trainers were lawyers from different parts of Ukraine with at least three years of lawyer’s experience, including attorneys who provide free secondary legal aid. In April this year, all of them, with the support of the Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine Project, held a three-day training for trainers (ToT) to develop skills of working with vulnerable groups of the population.