Responding to The Guardian’s article, Mark Groves, CEO said “Year on year we see a rise in the number of victims who cannot obtain Legal Aid and we expect to see a further rise in 2018. Putting a stop to the abuse can be difficult and daunting enough without having the worry of legal costs. There is a long overdue call for urgent government action to address funding cuts in domestic violence cases and NCDV remain hopeful that the government will prioritise their review of the impact of these measures in 2018. The Legal Aid Agency are under extreme financial pressure to save money but the less money being spent means more victims cannot get the legal representation they deserve”.
He continued, “Our teams work tirelessly to help vulnerable victims of domestic abuse and violence obtain the legal support they deserve. This year so far we have helped 1,452 victims of domestic violence that could not get Legal Aid help to obtain the legal protection that they need. These are victims who did not qualify for legal aid or could not afford a solicitor, but they are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. Last week one victim with 2 children who worked part time living in a small flat paid for partly by housing benefit was asked to pay £148 a month by the LAA to get legal help. She did not have £148 spare. Without the help of NCDV these victims would have remained in an unsatisfactory and vulnerable position” .
NCDV exists to help those who cannot get help from a solicitor, Groves said “NCDV has never had a penny of government funding so the service we provide actually saves the LAA money. We have created innovative technical solutions which have revolutionised the speed and efficiency of the injunction process. But we can’t do it all”.
Commenting on the use of NCDV’s online portals including Refer Direct, the NCDV app and the ASSIST database, Mark Groves said “ The police and agencies across the country use our services because they know that we will help every victim irrespective of their financial position, David Lidington (Secretary of State for Justice) needs to take a good hard look at what organisations in this sector are doing, how they are being funded and how real people are affected by cuts”.