The Government has made a decision to reduce the restrictions on access to free legal advice under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 introduced in 2013. This aims to eliminate hurdles such as arbitrary time limits imposed on evidence of domestic abuse and helps a larger number of domestic abuse victims to receive legal advice.
The previous restrictions prevented approximately half of all victims from being able to access the vital legal help they need. To help this situation the Government has broadened the types of evidence that can be accepted for victims to access legal aid. This now includes, among other things, statements from domestic violence support organisations and housing support officers.
Law Society of England and Wales vice president Christina Blacklaws said:
'We welcome this reform, which will make it easier for victims to qualify for legal aid and access essential help and support.
The impact of domestic abuse is often lifelong. Any time limit imposed on victims of abuse is inappropriate.'