Legal aid cuts and domestic violence against women - call for evidence to UN

Friday 10 July 2015

Evidence, case studies and stories of individual women who have been victims of domestic violence, who have tried to seek the assistance of a solicitor and who have had difficulties in obtaining the evidence required to prove they are a victims are needed for the UN Shadow report.

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The evidence will be included in the shadow report to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Committee, which provides civil society organisations with the opportunity to supplement the Government’s report on the impact of the civil legal aid cuts. More information on what type of evidence is needed and how to submit it, can be found this short guide to evidence gathering and this more detailed guide.

Women who have been victims of domestic violence are currently facing significant difficulties in accessing the remaining family civil legal aid. Hurdles including the burden to provide documentary proof, language barriers and having documentary proof rejected by the Legal Aid Agency means that many women are unable to seek justice and protection under the law. Rights of Women suggest that 39% of women who are eligible for legal aid are not getting access to it. This means they face the horrifying prospect of being confronted by the perpetrator of the violence in court without the assistance of a solicitor or barrister. We need your help in providing evidence of these experiences.

There are two different evidence submission forms:

This initiative is being promoted by Smita Shah of Garden Court Chambers, Cris McCurley of Ben Hoare Bell Solicitors, Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters and Vivienne Hayes of the Women’s Resource Centre.

If you have any queries about the evidence-gathering process, please contact Smita Shah of Garden Court Chambers’ Family Team.

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