The Prime Minister took to twitter to confirm that the government was ‘fully committed’ to reintroducing new legislation to protect victims of domestic abuse following concerns it had been axed as a result of Parliament’s suspension last week. Prorogation will suspend all existing bills making their way through Parliament, unless the government chooses to carry them over to the next session beginning on 14 October. When Parliament returns on this date, although any dropped bills can be re-introduced, all progress made is lost and the process must start from scratch. The government chose to carry over three pieces of legislation, dropping both the Domestic Abuse Bill and the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill (which aimed to bring in a system of no-fault divorce). The Domestic Abuse Bill included the introduction of the first statutory definition of domestic abuse (including both financial and non-physical behaviour), the prohibition on perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in family courts and the introduction of a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Domestic Abuse Protection Order. Women’s rights groups including Women’s Aid, Imkaan and the Centre for Women’s Justice wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to ensure the Bill remains ‘a priority’ for the government’s next session. ‘Whatever happens next, the Prime Minister must confirm that protecting the rights and safety of survivors is a priority,’ said Nicki Norman, acting co-chief executive of Women’s Aid. ‘Over two years, thousands of survivors have bravely shared their experiences of domestic abuse with the government and fought to improve support for women and children. They must not be betrayed.’ [...]
As part of the firm’s wider charitable activities, we will once again be taking part in this year’s London Legal Walk on the 17th of June.
The London Legal Walk is a 10km sponsored walk across the city to raise funds for charities that give free legal advice. The team will be walking alongside a number of other law firms, chambers and organisations raising money in aid of a great cause.
There were 870 non-profit legal aid providers in 2013, according to statistics from the Ministry of Justice. By 2014 this had fallen to just 95. Significant cuts to Government spending as well as Legal aid has resulted in reduced funding bring available for important issues such as immigration and homelessness.
This year again, we walk with other members of the profession to raise funds so the poorest and most vulnerable people in the community can have access to justice and avail free legal advice.
Harun Matin, Head of Crime commented :
We took part in the walk last year and felt the community came together perfectly to highlight the importance of supporting vulnerable people. These ongoing funding cuts affects those who are vulnerable and on the margins of society, it’s our duty to ensure that their plight is not forgotten
Kirsty Richards, Head of Family said:
This is such a worthy cause and its lovely to see so many legal professionals and all those involved with law coming together to champion what we do on a daily basis. NLS will continue to be a part of this walk as it is vital for spreading awareness of the plight of legal aid
If you would like to sponsor the team and raise money for a great cause, please visit our fundraising page here. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.
An estimated 1.3 million women & 700,000 men experience domestic violence each year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ending March 2018)
It is now well accepted that domestic abuse can have a profound impact on a survivors’ mental health and is the main cause of depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders.
Head of Family, Kirsty Richards comments
Domestic abuse has far-reaching consequences for the victims and the children of those families. Many of the clients that we help at NLS describe the often-devastating impact on their mental wellbeing from the abuse they have suffered/ are continuing to suffer. There is a lot of campaigning for better understanding of domestic abuse which is seeing a positive change in the wider understanding of abuse and its impact on the health and wellbeing of victims but we need to keep talking about it. The more we discuss abuse and the mental health implications, hopefully strength is given to other victims to recognise they too are in an abusive relationship and hopefully give them the confidence to escape the life and put protective measures in place. Sadly, most of us will be impacted by domestic abuse at one point in our lives be it directly or through a loved one or friend that is a victim. We need to keep up the pace of these awareness campaigns to ensure that there are options for victims and we at NLS certainly remain committed to providing as much support as possible to anyone needing advice about what to do
If you have been a victim of domestic abuse and have decided to leave your abuser, there many organisations that can help you :-
The National Domestic Violence Helpline is a 24 hour helpline which provides advice and support to women and can refer them to emergency accommodation. The National Domestic Violence Helpline is a 24 hour helpline which provides advice and support to women and can refer them to emergency accommodation.
Refuge offers advice and support to women experiencing domestic abuse and also provides safe, emergency accommodation through a network of refuges throughout the UK, including culturally-specific services for women from minority ethnic communities and cultures.
The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for all men experiencing domestic violence by a current or ex-partner. They provide emotional support and practical advice, and can give you details of specialist services that can give you advice on legal, housing, child contact, mental health and other issues.
The Women’s Aid website provides a wide range of resources to help women and young people
The ManKind Initiative is a charity offering information and support to men who are victims of domestic abuse or violence. This can include information and support on reporting incidents, police procedures, housing, benefits and injunctions. They can refer you to a refuge, local authority or other another support service if you need it.
The Everyman Project offers counselling to men in the London area who want to change their violent or abusive behaviour. It also has a national helpline, which offers advice to anyone worried about their own, or someone else’s, violent or abusive behaviour.
Helpline: 0207 263 8884
1 Trevillion, K., Oram, S., Feder, G., & Howard, L.M. (2012). Experiences of domestic violence and mental disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS One, 7, e51740
2Howard, L.M., Trevillion, K., Khalifeh, H., Woodall, A., Agnew-Davies, R. and Feder, G. (2010), Domestic violence and severe psychiatric disorders: prevalence and interventions in ‘Psychological Medicine’ (2010), 40 ,881-893. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
3SafeLives (2015), Insights Idva National Dataset 2013-14. Bristol: SafeLives
4 Gilbert, R., Kemp, A., Thoburn, J., Sidebotham, P., Radford, L., Glaser, D., & MacMillan, H. (2009). Recognising and responding to child maltreatment. The Lancet, 373(9658), 167–180