The Government has announced this week that victims of domestic violence will no longer have to go through harsh evidence tests in order to qualify for Legal Aid in family proceedings.
At present, legal aid is available to people involved in private family law disputes (e.g. which parent the child should live with and contact arrangements), if they are victims or are at risk of domestic violence and / or child abuse. The Legal Aid Agency currently accepts documents as evidence of this from social services, medical professionals and law enforcement.
From January 2018, the current five year time limit on this evidence will be scrapped and widened to include statements from domestic violence support organisations or housing support officers.
Lianne McNally, Family Paralegal commented that:
“This is great news for victims being able to easily obtain qualifying evidence, as not all people who are suffering from domestic violence see their GP in the first instance and are more likely to go to organisations which focus on victims of domestic violence.”
Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-legal-aid-support-for-victims-of-domestic-violence