Citizens Advice has today said that evidence requirements needed for victims of domestic abuse to access legal aid are blocking some victims from separating from their abuser or protecting their children.
The national charity has said the Court of Appeal ruling in a case brought by Rights of Women could “pave the way” for victims of all forms of abuse to get the help they need. The Court of Appeal today declared that changes to legal aid which excluded victims of financial abuse and those whose the evidence was over 24 months old are unlawful.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Victims of domestic abuse are in some cases being blocked from accessing legal aid.
“The evidence requirements for domestic abuse victims to get legal aid that can help them separate from their abuser or protect their children are too often impractical.
“Today’s decision by the Court of Appeal could pave the way for more victims of domestic abuse to get the help they need. The court rightly highlights that getting the necessary evidence to prove the abuse is especially difficult for victims of financial abuse, such as those who have been prevented from spending their own money.
“The Government has shown an encouraging commitment to tackling all forms of domestic abuse. Today’s judgment provides an opportunity for the Government to look again at legal aid and ensure it is available to all victims who need it.”