Women’s Aid Update on Legal Aid

In April 2013 changes were made to the family law legal aid system that meant legal aid was no longer available for many family law cases. However, legal aid still remained available for women survivors of domestic violence and is accessed through the Domestic Violence Gateway. As of 1 April 2014 further changes were made to the evidence needed to access legal aid for women survivors of domestic violence – these changes come into force on Tuesday 22 April 2014.See below for an updated list of evidence that can be used to access legal aid for women survivors of domestic violence from 22 April 2014.

Their perpetrator has been convicted of a domestic violence offence against them and that conviction is unspent

Their perpetrator has accepted a caution for a domestic violence offence against them within the past 24 months

Their perpetrator is on police bail for a domestic violence offence (this is an additional piece of evidence added in 2014)

Their perpetrator has received a Domestic Violence Protection Order (this is an additional piece of evidence added in 2014)

Their perpetrator has a binding over order for a domestic violence offence (this is an additional piece of evidence added in 2014)

They are ongoing criminal proceedings in respect of a domestic violence offence against them

They have a protective injunction (such as a non-molestation or forced marriage protection order) in force or one had been made within the past 2 years

Their perpetrator had given an undertaking in respect of domestic violence and the undertaking is still in force or had been made within the past 2 years and where no cross undertaking has been given

They have been referred to a Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference as a victim of domestic violence and a plan is in place within the past 2 years

They have a report from a doctor, nurse or midwife confirming they were examined in respect of an injury or condition consistent with domestic violence within the past 2 years

They have been assessed by Social Services as experiencing or being at risk of domestic violence within the past 2 years

They have a letter from a refuge confirming that they stayed there for a period of more than 24 hours within the past 2 years

They have been assess by a psychologist as experiencing or being at risk of domestic violence within the past 2 years (this is an additional piece of evidence added in 2014)

They have evidence from a domestic violence support service where they have been referred by a health professional.

They have been unable to access refuge due to insufficient accommodation (this is an additional piece of evidence added in 2014)

For more information see Rights of Women website http://www.rightsofwomen.org.uk/ or call their Helpline on 020 7251 6575