***UPDATE 08/01/2018 Changes for legal aid for victims of domestic violence come into effect ***
It is so pleasing to hear the breakthrough in legal aid for victims of domestic violence.
Samantha Lee, Director and head of Family Law explains, “Really good news - The Ministry of Justice have announced that they will be expanding the evidence of domestic violence required for clients to be eligible for legal aid for family matters as well as removing the five year time limit.”
This really is a great step forward in supporting the victims of domestic abuse.
It means more victims can come forward and seek help.
Statements from domestic violence support organisations will be accepted as evidence of abuse.
This further strengthens the importance of these organisations in supporting victims of domestic violence.
The inclusion of their statements as evidence for legal aid for victims of domestic violence means we can offer more support and advice, together. We work closely with many local support services.
Statements from housing support officers will also be able to be used.
Currently, only social services, law enforcement agencies and medical professions are able to provide evidence of domestic violence for purposes of legal aid entitlement.
Since legal aid cuts took place in 2013, there has been an 80% fall in civil legal aid being granted.
Resolution has been calling for change in the evidence restrictions since the cuts.
The changes have been made in consultation with Resolution, Rights of Women, Women’s Aid and the Society.
Samantha comments, “Legal aid is vital for victims of domestic violence. Many victims don’t suffer just physical violence. Many are subjected to emotional and financial abuse. Often they are only able to bring a case before the courts with legal aid funding.”
“It is so important that this lifeline to domestic violence victims is being expanded once again.”
It can be frightening to take the brave decision to leave your abusive partner and support is then needed to sort out finances and arrangements for any children.
We understand that it will have taken you a long time to reach this far. You have been subject to abuse for a while.
We are here to help you.
Call us for free on 0800 0351 999 for free advice