Referral directories should be drawn up from the start, when you begin providing legal services, and regularly updated with contact numbers, names and focal points in order to facilitate communication.
Services to include (not a comprehensive list):
- Mental health professionals
- Health services
- Subsistence grants
- Free meal providers
- Livelihoods support organizations
- Training and educational opportunities
- State services focal points
- Physical rehabilitation for landmine survivors
- Language classes
- Clothes donations
- Women’s groups
- Faith groups
- UNHCR resettlement procedures
You may want to draw up a Google docs Excel spreadsheet which can be updated by your legal advocates as necessary. Each service provider recorded should contain details on:
- Contact information: phone, mobile, alternative numbers, out-of-hours numbers, email address, postal address, fax, Skype.
- Personal information: include the full names of staff members, as well as their shifts and/or tips about which approaches work well with certain individuals.
- Previous communication: It is important to note when you have made contact with a service provider or referred clients to them. This will help track your relationships and avoid over-burdening one service provider if possible, thereby keeping relationships smooth. It also demonstrates professionalism and promotes friendly relations to be able to mention e.g. ‘I hear our last client referred, X, is very pleased with the treatment he received,’ or ‘How have you been since you last spoke to my colleague X?’
- Alerts: note whether the service provider is near capacity or unable to take more clients.
If an organization has a standard referral form, whether online, in PDF or on paper, these should also be kept on file for easy reach by the legal advocate in charge of the case.
The Rights in Exile Program has a country-by-country directory of pro-bono legal service providers which may be a starting point for building up your directory, as some of the organizations and individuals listed provide further services e.g. psycho-social support, legal advice for migrants in general. Their links and networks page should be checked: it currently provides information about trafficking and detention support networks.