The Noga First Response Station: Legal Aid and Advocacy
Established in 2004 by Dr. Dana Pugach and Adv. Dikla Tutian, under the auspices of Ono Academic College, The Noga Legal Center for Victims of Crime protects victims and ensures that their basic human rights are upheld, gives them a more meaningful role in criminal proceedings, and advocates for their inclusion in the criminal process, both in individual cases and in the legislative arena. The Noga Center is the only agency in Israel offering pro-bono legal advice, a first response station, and advocacy for victims of crime.
Due to its high visibility in public courthouse, the Noga First Response Station is able to provide multi-disciplinary care with the help of the police, district attorney, social services and mental health professionals.
SHINING A LIGHT ON VICTIMS’ RIGHTS
Every year, Noga offers legal assistance to hundreds of individuals who have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused, and to families whose loved ones have been murdered. Noga also focuses on public advocacy to raise awareness of failings within the legal system and lobbies the Knesset to change legislation in ways that will strengthen and protect the human rights of women and girls. Additionally, Noga’s legal staff advances the rights of crime victims across the country by providing professional educational programs for judges, prosecutors, social workers and lawyers.
Legal professionals from the Noga First Response Station also work with law students from Ono Academic College. Through their work with victims of crime and their exposure to the Israeli legal system, students learn about the importance of furthering human rights and democracy, and gain the tools to carry on this mission after they receive their degrees.
UPHOLDING RIGHTS, SUPPORTING CHANGE
The Noga First Response Station has an annual budget of approximately $100,000, including provisions for legal and administrative staff, professional student supervision, marketing materials, and other activities aimed at reaching professional communities.
Noga has run several successful projects supported by North American organizations, such as the “Ultra-Orthodox Women Legal Clinic” supported by the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, the “Restraining Orders for Victims of Sexual Crimes” project supported by the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, and the “Comprehensive Legal Support for Child Victims of Abuse” project supported by the Silver Family Foundation. Ono Academic College welcomes ideas for additional projects and will match all donations to the Noga First Response Station.