National Centre for Domestic Violence
NCDV was established to help survivors of domestic violence and abuse obtain protection against an abuser, as well as offering services to the police, probation service, domestic abuse agency workers, the legal profession and judiciary.
We specialise in providing free, fast and effective legal support to survivors of domestic violence and abuse, usually by helping individuals obtain injunctions from their local county court. This free service is provided to everybody, regardless of their financial circumstances, sexual orientation, race, gender, age, or political or religious belief or otherwise.
NCDV started as a charity but with no government funding available we decided to change to a private limited company, supplying our services free to the public by charging solicitors for the work we do compiling documents for court applications.
This work would normally take a solicitor four to five hours and we charge them less than it would cost for them to do it themselves – which is cost effective for the solicitors and helps speed up court applications.
We have never charged a victim of domestic violence or abuse – and we never will.
Sometimes victims are disappointed because the solicitor decides that the case cannot progress because it does not meet the requirements of merits under the Family Law Act. In these cases we have tried our best, but we cannot change the law.
Once a protective order is granted the order needs to be served on the person it relates to. We do this for the solicitor as well and we make a small profit (between £6-and £8). Our profit is ploughed back into the organisation to support special projects, innovations and our free service to try to help as many people as we can who do not qualify for legal aid.
Last year we helped over 1,000 victims for free who could not get legal help because they couldn’t afford it – next year we will help over 2,000.
The next evolution for NCDV was to find a way to have our own in-house solicitors working directly for our clients giving them a better and more professional service.
After years of planning the NCDV, National Legal Service was created (NLS). We are now authorised by the Solicitors’ Regulatory Association and our legal aid licence in in progress.
We can now directly help victims without having to refer them to another organisation which means we will be more professional, quicker, give a better, faster and fuller service as well as allowing us to develop the services we offer i.e. housing advice, care advice, immigration advice.
We have also opened up a host of new opportunities for our staff, many of whom work with NCDV as part of their law degree doing paralegal, casework, training contracts, finance management and much more which will help them progress a legal career.
Working with our solicitors’ panel we can cover nearly the whole of England, we are actively encouraging more solicitors’ firms to join the panel to create an even larger network of support options.