16th April 2020

Changing Lives open letter to the Government on sexual violence and abuse during coronavirus pandemic: COVID-19 Changing Lives Open Letter

I am proud to support this important letter calling on the Government to take urgent action to support women from sexual exploitation and domestic abuse during lock down. Our front line domestic abuse charities are running refuges and supporting women on the front line and without the support of PPE. The Government response so far has been poor and the £2 million promised by the Home Secretary will not go anywhere near meeting the need of our specialist services at a time when the demand for the services has reached 120% of the normal volume of need.

The courts are operating remotely as are specialist domestic abuse solicitors, and the court is giving priority time to hear applications by phone or video link so that victims can get the support they need for themselves and their children. We are here to help and our out of hours emergency help line is still operating.

Through the Law Society Access to Justice Committee, we have been calling on the Government to make Legal Aid for protection applications non-means tested so that no one has to worry about having to provide financial proof when feeling worry about the cost of legal help at a time when so many are suffering financial hardship because of the pandemic.

If you are working in a related domestic abuse role and wish to sign the letter, please let me know.

Blog by Cris McCurley, Partner