Financial & Legal News

Legal Aid Evidence Criteria Widened For Victims of Domestic Violence

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Despite the diminishing availability of legal aid in family law cases it is still available for sufferers and survivors of domestic violence. Further changes have been made to the evidence needed to show domestic violence which should make it easier to access Legal Aid.

With the introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014, which came to into force on 22nd April 2014, a number of new regulations have been brought in which widen the evidence criteria for victims of domestic violence. It is hoped that they will increase access to family legal aid for those that really need it.

April 2013 brought significant changes to the legal aid system, and reduce the availability of legal aid in family cases for many people.

Rebecca Wolfenden, family solicitor at Pearson Solicitors in Oldham, feels that at times it is increasingly frustrating having to tell clients who have in the past or are suffering from domestic violence that they are not eligible for legal aid as they are unable to provide the exact evidence as the criteria was previously too restrictive. She therefore welcomes the recent changes and feels that it will make it easy for those who really needed to access legal aid.

Miss Wolfenden is happy to discuss with clients what evidence they would need to provide and would ask that clients request a free of charge clinic appointment, which she runs at her Queen Street office every Tuesday and Thursday, in order to do so. Miss Wolfenden stresses that it is not as difficult as people may think and that the new regulations now make it easier. People should not automatically assume that legal aid is not available to them as it may well be.

Miss Wolfenden is also at pains to stress that domestic violence is not about physical violence necessarily, but can be any incident or patterns of incidents of controlling, coercive, or threatening behaviour or abuse whether psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional. She feels that many clients do not actually realise that what they are experiencing is actually domestic violence. The legal changes that have recently been brought into force can only assist clients in evidencing this so that they can get the necessary specialist help they need and deserve in complex family cases at an already stressful and highly emotional time.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Rebecca Wolfenden

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