As the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill 2010-11 reaches the committee stage in the House of Lords, Welsh Women’s Aid and Right of Women have published research on the potential impact of the legislation.
Just under 1000 diverse participants including 336 individual women (191 of whom had experienced violence at some time), practitioners and legal service providers responded to online surveys. The headline message is one of caution:
- 54% of the individual women who had experienced violence did not report this to the police.
- 89% of individual women and 97% professionals felt that women experiencing violence would be unable to represent themselves in court.
“If I had not had the help I received from my solicitor, I would not be here today, I feel that legal aid is important especially to women trying to leave violent partners or seeking orders from the court to protect themselves and their children.”
For a detailed examination of the legal aid changes see here