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MoJ launches domestic violence legal aid survey

Family Law | 16 Jun 2016 1

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has launched a survey on domestic violence and legal aid.

The government hopes to gather information from professionals such as lawyers on their experience dealing with victims in these cases. Participants will be asked to estimate how many victims of domestic violence need legal aid to resolve their private law disputes such as divorce or child contact. They will also be asked what they believe would be the most straightforward way for victims to get legal aid and if they believe that “there are obstacles that prevent individuals from fulfilling the evidence requirements”.

Currently, people must provide evidence such as a letter from a doctor or a domestic violence protection order from up to five years prior to their application in order to qualify for legal aid. The level of proof needed has been condemned by domestic violence campaign groups like Rights for Women. In February, they successfully applied to the Supreme Court for a declaration that some of the changes to law on legal aid were invalid.

Law Society president Jonathan Smithers urged solicitors to participate in the MoJ survey as “they work on the frontline and can report on the challenges which the current evidence requirements place on victims of domestic violence”.

However, Labour MP Dawn Butler criticised the survey in the House of Commons this week, questioning if it was “a reasonable way to show that [the government takes] the situation seriously”. It would be better to have “a full, open, public and transparent consultation”, she claimed.

The survey closes on 1 July and is available here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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    1. spinner says:

      So more men get slandered on the say so of a doctors letter and then have to use their personal resources to defend themselves against someone who can just sit their fully funded by the state until the man runs out of money.

      If you give legal aid to one side you must give it to the other side.

      All allegations of domestic violence should be investigated by the police and prosecuted, if no prosecution then it didn’t happen, innocent until *proven* guilty.

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