A women’s charity has appealed for information about the impact of civil legal aid cuts on victims of violence ahead of a UN inspection of whether the UK is complying with its international obligations.
The government is expected to report next month on the impact on women of reforms to legal aid to meet its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Charity the Women’s Resource Centre is to submit its own ‘shadow’ report.
The charity’s chief executive Vivienne Hayes told a legal aid seminar at Garden Court Chambers: ‘We know from previous examinations that the government does not quite tell the truth.’ Hayes said the shadow report was an ‘opportunity to ensure our government is held to account on their abysmal failure to protect women from violence’.
The project is being led by north-east firm Ben Hoare Bell partner Cris McCurley.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, which came into force in 2013, removed legal aid from the majority of private family law matters. However, applicants are granted legal aid for cases where they can prove the incidence or risk of domestic violence or child abuse through a range of prescribed forms of evidence.