Although things are more difficult these days we are finding ways to help people who are vulnerable and need assistance because of domestic abuse. Your situation may seem hopeless but please call us and we will do everything and anything that we can to help you. If you are stuck in a difficult situation, please do not think that you are unable to access help. We are open for business and can take your call or deal with you by email if necessary. The strict criteria to accessing legal aid may come under review soon and we are keeping a close eye on any changes. The Law Society are trying to persuade the Government to relax the regulations to make it easier for us to help you.
A report from the President of the Law Society, Simon Davis, is urging the Government to provide more help and support to domestic abuse victims. This follows reports of a surge in incidents during lockdown. “Social distancing has made it even more difficult for victims to get time away from their abuser to ask for help- leaving many trapped in an increasingly volatile situation.”
In the report, Simon Davis, is pushing for the Government to provide alternatives for those who are confined with their abuser. Further support is required for those who have disabilities or face language issues when access to advice and court services are limited.
“For those who don’t qualify for legal aid and cannot afford a solicitor, navigating a telephone hearing unrepresented can prove even more complex than the usual court process. Making non means tested legal aid available for domestic abuse cases would give victims the legal support and access to justice they so desperately need.”
At the moment to be able to access Legal Aid, applicants require what is called Gateway evidence, so the solicitor can certify that the individual is a victim and this allows them access to legal aid. Often victims rely on evidence from a doctor which due to the lockdown is difficult to obtain.
The Domestic abuse charity Refuge has reported a 25% increase in calls to its national helpline since the lockdown began.
It is important to us and The Law Society that solicitors are able to continue to provide a service to help in these difficult times.