A maintenance matter was successfully mediated by the Fort Portal Centre for 50-year-old Laura from Kabende Sub-County, Kabarole District. Laura was referred to JCU by the Kabende Community Development Officer (CDO) after all attempts to resolve her matter had failed. Laura and Peter had been married for 30 years and together they had eight children of whom two were below 18 years – when Peter decided to move out of their matrimonial home and stop providing for the family.
As time went on, there arose more and more misunderstandings and relations in the family deteriorated. The children became increasingly angry at their father. They began to demand that Peter give part of the land to Laura so that they could make a fresh start elsewhere. In order to force their father to give Laura (their mother) part of the land, the children had removed all the windows of the house and taken some household items. Laura decided that this unbearable situation needed to stop. She sought help from the local council which later referred her to the CDO – Kabende Police Post who tried to set up a mediation session but Peter refused to show up.
The CDO thereafter referred the matter to JCU and an office mediation was held. The couple chose to reconcile and to peacefully live in their matrimonial home and to refrain from verbal abuse. Peter also agreed to reinstall the windows of their matrimonial home for the purpose of making his family feel safe.
The couple understood the principles of matrimonial property rights and family land and became aware of the negative effects of domestic violence. This knowledge made them change their life in a very positive direction: The couple and their children were now all living peacefully in their refurbished home. What was special about this case was that Laura, after finding out that she would not be able to bring the family back together on her own, sought external help and eventually found the right solution to her problem.
In order to assess the situation, with the consent of both parties, the Centre decided to hold a locus mediation on 22nd September in the presence of Chairpersons LC1 & LC2 and parish Councillors; to sensitise the community about property rights and domestic violence.