WALES/ENGLAND – Legal aid for victims of domestic violence

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are divorcing or separating from an abusive partner you can get legal aid to help. This can be help with the divorce or things such as child contact or how to share  money or property.

To get legal aid you must be able to give your solicitor some evidence that you have been a victim of domestic violence by your partner or husband.

There are many forms of domestic violence and it is not just about physical violence.

Types of evidence:

Evidence of criminal convictions for a domestic violence offence

If your ex-partner has a criminal conviction in the UK for a domestic violence offence against you, this will count as evidence. It will not count if the conviction is ‘spent’. 

If you do not already have a written record of the conviction (such as a letter from the police) you will need to get a record of the conviction for your legal aid application.

  1. Check that the offence your ex-partner was given a caution for was for a domestic violence offence.
  2. You will need to know the court where your ex-partner was sentenced You can either write to court or visit them in person. [Information on  magistrates’ and Crown Courts] Sometimes a case is heard in a magistrates’ court, but sentenced in the Crown Court. The magistrates’ court should be able to tell you where the sentencing took place. If you do not know the court, you could ask the police officer who was leading the investigation.
  3. You should complete either the Crown Court template letter or Magistrates Court template letter as much as you can and send it to the relevant court. You may have to pay a fee for the copy of the record. Do NOT send your letter to the court’s legal aid unit if it has one.

If the offence took place outside the United Kingdom then this can also be used but the Legal Aid Agency will  decide whether or not to accept it. You should write to the relevant law enforcement agency in the country where the offence took place asking for confirmation of the conviction.

You should ask them to provide this in English if possible. If they cannot provide the evidence in English, you will need to provide both the original letter or document from the relevant agency, with a translation into English.

Evidence of a Police caution for a domestic violence offence

Evidence of ongoing criminal proceedings for a domestic violence offence

Evidence of a protective injunction

An undertaking given in place of a protective injunction

Evidence of being subject to a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) plan

Finding of fact of domestic violence by a court

Letter from a doctor or nurse confirming injuries or a condition consistent with domestic violence

Evidence from social services confirming domestic violence

Evidence from a domestic violence support organisation confirming a 24 hour stay in a refuge due to domestic violence

Updated: Friday, 5 April 2013

SOURCE: HOME OFFICE: Domestic violence and abuse

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