When a child is at risk of abuse from a partner, you can get legal aid to help with issues such as child contact or removal of a father’s parental responsibility. To do so you must be able to give your solicitor one of the forms of evidence of child abuse listed below.
If you need to get evidence of a criminal conviction, police caution or of ongoing criminal proceedings for a child abuse offence, you will need to check against this list that the offence is one which is considered child abuse.
This guidance refers to your ex-partner as in the majority of cases this is who your case will be against. However, it equally applies to any other person who you are in dispute with.
Click on the forms of evidence below to find out more about what each one is and how to get it if you need to:
- criminal conviction
- police caution
- ongoing criminal proceedings
- protective injunction
- finding of fact by a court
- letter or child protection plan from social services
- application for a protective injunction with a prohibited steps order
If the person you are seeking to protect the child from has a criminal conviction for a child abuse offence, this will count as evidence for legal aid. It will not count if the conviction is ‘spent’.
If you do not have a written record of this (such as a letter from the Police) you will need to get a record of the conviction for your legal aid application.
- Check that the offence your ex-partner was given a caution for was a child abuse offence.
- 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 about 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.
- Complete either the magistrates court criminal conviction template letter or crown court criminal conviction 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.