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Dramatic rise in unrepresented domestic violence victims

The number of domestic violence victims who do not have legal representation in the family courts has doubled in the last five years.

In the first nine months of this year, as many as 3,234 people who had allegedly been victims of domestic abuse attended at least one family court hearing as a litigant in person. This represents a huge increase as there were only 1,309 people in the same situation during the first nine months of 2012.

Shadow Justice Minister Gloria de Piero claimed these figures revealed “the shocking effect of the government’s cavalier changes to legal aid”. She said that victims of violence in the home are increasingly “being forced to represent themselves in court against their abuser to seek protection for themselves and their children”.

Earlier this month, the government announced plans to loosen the restrictions on legal aid for victims of domestic abuse in 2018. However, de Piero said this was not enough and demanded that the government take immediate steps “to ensure no victim of domestic violence is forced to go to court without representation”.

Many of Stowe Family Law’s solicitors have experience with cases involving domestic violence or abuse. If you have been affected and want legal advice or representation from someone who will really listen to you, find and contact your local divorce lawyers. We can put you in contact with a solicitor from an office near you with the necessary experience to guide you through this extremely difficult situation.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    Or to put it another way: fewer subjects of allegations of domestic violence, themselves refused legal aid and not allowed to cross-examine the principal witness against them, are expected also to cope with professional representation against them.
    I notice that you omit the word “alleged” from your headline (although you use it in the text, which is more than Ms de Piero did) and I hope that was just an oversight.

    • Stitchedup says:

      Not an oversight Andrew, it’s all part of the feminist narrative. Women must be believed so they are victims even if their allegations haven’t been tested….

  2. Mr T says:

    This is simple – this is feminism

    Now google Gloria de Piero – MP for Ashfield – Nottingham (do an image search too how very interesting!)

    You’ll then find out that Nottinghamshire police use a screening tool for male victims of abuse here:

    Then google Sue Fish you’ll then find a link via news articles to Nottinghamshire Women’s Centre and make the link to Melanie Jeffs who’s Twitter feed is very activism heavy

    It’s no wonder they’re introducing laws for misogyny and wolf whistling!

    This is insanity it needs to stop. They’re throwing absolutely anything and everything through the courts tagged with domestic abuse or domestic violence it’s insane. I know this first hand.

    Don’t take headlines at face value the devil is literally in the detail.

    (*Comment moderated)

  3. John Denbigh says:

    If the unrepresented litigants referred to were indeed found to be victims of domestic violence – or had any evidence to suggest that they may have been victims – then they would clearly qualify for legal aid. This article appears to conflate allegations with victims. Many allegations are made in the Family Courts that are not substantiated, encouraged perhaps by the fact that it is the only means of acquiring legal aid.

  4. Dr Grumpy says:

    Do you know how difficult it is to get medical evidence of emotional and psychological abuse? That’s the reason why I was refused Legal Aid!

  5. Mr T says:

    How can you prove domestic abuse? These women don’t need to all you need is a civil law like a non-molestation order that they give out like smarties, with a clause in it for harassment that you can exploit to get a conviction \ a restraining order to prosecute you further in a criminal court – in other words, continue your abuse of your ex-partner using the law abuse by proxy.

  6. Dr. Manhattan. says:

    From a Taxpayer standpoint i would say Legal Aid should only be granted if 100% proof is produced from Sources like the Police and Hospitals etc this would significantly cut the amount of False Allegations. No Proof No Legal Aid its that simple.

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