Restrictions on Domestic Abuse Victims Loosened
Having the ability to access legal aid is crucial to helping many victims of domestic violence and abuse free themselves from further harm.
Up until recently, the technical rules for providing evidence have been preventing victims from accessing justice, even in cases where it had been accepted that the violence or abuse took place.
To qualify for Legal Aid, domestic abuse sufferers must show that the last incident of abuse took place (or that they were still suffering from the effects of that abuse) within the last 2 years. A procedural rule meant that some victims were being left to fend for themselves after their Legal Aid was withdrawn at the last minute.
The President of the Law Society
, Andrew Caplan, comments:"Legal Aid is a lifeline for victims of abuse and access to justice is essential in these cases. The LASPO Legal Aid cuts have resulted in radical consequences for access to justice with the worst impact affecting the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of society."
Fortunately, extensive campaigning by the Law Society has led to the Government announcing that they will be removing the technical rule
that causes anguish for many.
Kate Donohue Jones, our Head of Family Law
, welcomes the change:"Domestic abuse victims are being let down by procedural hurdles, which makes escaping abuse far more difficult. Many victims can only begin to take action when they feel mentally able to do so, there is no rule as to how long this takes and to put a two year limit on it restricts many victims from accessing funding. This change is a positive step forward, but we still need to continue working to break down barriers and providing access to justice for all."
Campaigning for Change
Our solicitors at Simpson Millar LLP are proud to be in association with charities working hard to raise awareness and combat domestic abuse.
We support both the Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence
and the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence
, both of which recently visited the US as part of a global challenge to help victims of domestic abuse
and influence change.