Lilia Oliynyk, lawyer of the online helpline "Psychological and Legal Support Available for People with Disabilities in Wartime": an activity about human support

Legal issues often require urgent solutions, and in the context of war, they often need to be solved immediately, because delays can be very expensive. Legal aid for people with disabilities is about mutual assistance, support, and accessibility in the broadest sense of the word. In the conditions of war, people with disabilities often do not have any in-person opportunities to receive quality free legal advice.
At the beginning of the full-scale invasion by the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, the teams at NGO «Human Rights Vector» and NGO «Fight For Right» joined forces to provide psychological and legal support for people with disabilities in wartime. People with disabilities, their close relatives and legal guardians, who are abroad or in Ukraine, can apply for help within this project  and get the professional help they need. It is easy to do this — they need to contact the operators of the project’s hotline in a convenient and accessible way (either by a phone call, filling out an online form, messaging on Viber, Telegram, or WhatsApp to the phone number +38 (050) 224-72-36).
Today, we are asking Lilia Oliynyk, a lawyer, media worker, and participant in the initiatives of the NGO «Human Rights Vector», about legal assistance and work within the project, regarding legal support for people with disabilities in wartime and JurFem: support for victims of sexual violence and all types of gender discrimination. Liliya has experience in working with conflicts in places of support for internally displaced persons. She is the author of scientific publications and manuals on the observance of children's rights and the practices of the European Court of Human Rights.
— Liliya Anatolivna, why did you decide to work on the helpline «Psychological and Legal Support Available for People with Disabilities in Wartime»?
  • It's very simple: from the first days of the full-scale invasion, I felt a strong need to help. My most effective help is working in my profession, counseling people, especially vulnerable segments of the population, helping them solve their legal issues, problems, and disputes.
— How is your interaction with clients?
  • The interaction mechanism is simple: a person chooses a convenient way to make a request, and hotline operators process the request and pass it on to me. Sometimes the request itself is enough — to consult the person. Sometimes it is not enough, so you need to contact the person directly. There were cases when one legal problem was solved, and a person turned to us again with a new request — and no restrictions were placed on the project rules. If people have a need, then with joint efforts we try to help all those who turn to us with a specific request or hope to solve certain problems.
— Liliya, what inquiries received by the helpline «Psychological and Legal Support Available for People with Disabilities in Wartime» did you have to deal with?
  • Quite different ones. These are requests related to labor rights, evacuation, crossing the border, military service, obtaining refugee status or temporary protection in EU countries… There were even requests regarding household arrangements, but upon closer examination, it turned out that this is a question of communication and interaction with neighbors. Sometimes it is enough to provide information about human rights, to explain, to offer solutions to the situation, and sometimes people just need to «talk». Everyone has the right to legal aid and, I believe, human support. And in the conditions of war, it is also very valuable. 
— Liliya, what does it mean for you to provide legal aid for people with disabilities in wartime conditions?
  • Today, high-quality legal support, especially for vulnerable sections of the population, is extremely important. There is a saying: «law is us» (I don't remember the author), which at one time became motivating for me. This is, in fact, about what it means to provide legal aid in wartime. My work within the online helpline «Psychological and Legal Support Available for People with Disabilities in Wartime» is a part of the fight against the enemy, where unity is our strength and victory.
Psychological and legal assistance for people with disabilities during wartime is provided within the project “Hotline for People with Disabilities During Wartime”, implemented by Human Rights Vector NGO in collaboration with Fight For Right NGO, with support from the project “Human Rights For Ukraine” implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark during 2019-2023. The helpline operators have already received positive feedback and words of gratitude from people with disabilities who applied for legal assistance within the project. This is the result of the work of the whole team. We have also prepared a useful infographic for those who are abroad or planning to leave for Hungary «Information for people with disabilities who left for Hungary escaping the war.» We invite you to watch the video with subtitles and read the notes of the webinar «Social guarantees in Ukraine for people with disabilities in conditions of war».
You can also learn more about psychological assistance in the article «Psychological challenges of people with disabilities today: how the helpline ‘Psychological and legal assistance for people with disabilities in martial law’ came to help.”
How to apply for help at the helpline „Psychological and Legal Support Available for People with Disabilities in Wartime“?
— fill out the online form at, after which the operator will contact you in the way you chose;
— call (calls within Ukraine) at phone number: +38050 224-72-36;
— or call or write with Viber, Telegram, or WhatsApp: +38050 224-72-36.
The hotline is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. The operators will accept the request and find a specialist who will help with the request.
Author: Natalya Mishchuk
Translation: Ben Murdoch, Kateryna Prokhoda

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