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Aims, Policy & Practice

National Centre for Domestic Violence

NCDV was established in 2002 in Lambeth, South London
(originally named the London Centre for Domestic Violence).

Why we provide our service

Before the Centre was operational, the Police and victims faced two problems when using local firms of solicitors
to obtain non-molestation orders. Generally, solicitors were only willing to accept clients that were either eligible
for public funding or clients who could afford to pay privately, thus leaving all those people ‘not eligible’ with no
access to funds, unprotected.

The other main issue was that solicitors were taking between two days and two weeks to get the client into court
and obtain the order.

We were convinced that victims of domestic violence and abuse could be daunted by the vast amount of various
legal agencies offering to assist. We saw the need for a one-stop-shop where the concerns of those in an abusive
situation could be addressed in their language and on their terms. Furthermore this streamlined service, could
and should be free and accessible to everybody.

A free, fast legal support service

Our service is targeted at the rapid relief of domestic violence and abuse. The majority of cases referred to us will
result in speedy action in the civil courts, but, we are also able to advise on those services providing alternative
refuge accommodation and on legal protection for children caught up in abusive or failing relationships.

The service works as follows:

  • There are two central numbers both of which are monitored 24-hours a day.
  • Full details are obtained with a high priority being given to respect for the wishes of the survivor.
  • Centre staff then advice as to the range of remedies available (most of which will be part of one or more of the
    Family Law Act 1996). Again, we view reassurance as an important aspect of our approach. Many survivors will
    not have experience of the civil courts and many fear them. The availability of without-notice orders is
    explained and can alleviate understandable concerns of reprisals by the perpetrator.
  • Once a client has indicated their preference for a particular remedy, the necessary witness statement is
    prepared and eligibility for legal aid assessed
  • Clients qualifying for public funding are thereafter referred to a solicitor on the Centre’s Panel of solicitors. Our
    relationship with Panel solicitors is such that clients will rarely need to make an additional journey to the solicitor,
    with most meeting theirs for the first time at court on the day of the hearing.

Protection irrespective of financial circumstances

Those whose income or capital takes them above the threshold for public funding can be provided with a Mckenzie Friend to assist in drafting the relevant paperwork and making the application in Court.

As to timing, the Centre aims to get cases to Court on the first working day after initial contact. In cases of extreme urgency (involving risk of child abduction for instance) the Centre is conversant with the procedure for obtaining and enforcing orders out of usual court hours. In any event, clients will have been familiarised with the whole court experience as part of the initial advice that NCDV provides. The Centre can also offer practical assistance with getting to court if such is required. Centre staff have access to a qualified lawyer 24 hours a day, 365 days a year should they encounter circumstances beyond their own experience and expertise.

To provide this service NCDV continually train law students from universities and training centres throughout the
country. In addition we run specialist training courses for numerous Police forces and government agencies
throughout the county.

Our Aim: Protection for All, Now

Thus far, the Centre’s success has been beyond all expectation. Clients have achieved the protection and security they desire and have been able to start down the long road of recovery from abuse without having been further traumatised by the procedures necessary to obtain protection. Nonetheless, there is no room for complacency when dealing with those who have been downtrodden or violated, and we encourage clients to share with us their views as to how the service may be further enhanced. Thus we, together with our clients and the agencies with whom we work are on a voyage towards a safer, happier future.

NCDV will evolve with the challenges we meet but offers no compromise in our key aim: to be the vehicle by which violence and abuse are banished from the lives of our clients, and a companion for them on their journey to recovery and reassurance.

What People Say

NCDV Average Rating
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Aug 14, 2018
leicestershire county council, Julie Rogers

This process for simple , easy to access and the action taken to support my service user was extremely swift . I was really impressed with the emails I received as the refer every step along the way to let me know how the case was progressing. I have been… Read more

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Jul 23, 2018
Hampshire Constabulary, PC 21195 Dianne Emptage

The NCDV provides a vital and superb service to victims of domestic violence. I made a referral at 1100am, to be advised that they had contacted the victim by 1300pm and completed the necessary paperwork for an application to the courts for an order. Two days later the order had… Read more

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Jul 16, 2018
CRC Probation, Debra

Excellent quick service. Client is really happy with the help support and advice given and how fast it was all dealt with. Excellent.

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Jun 26, 2018
Oxfordshire private care, S G-Steele

Thank you for your outstanding service and efficiency in obtaining my clients order on her behalf. Herself and her children now feel safe and after a horrible few years they can now relax knowing they have a court order in place.

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Jun 26, 2018
Hertfordshire Constabulary, Intervention officer

Such an easy process to refer, really useful tool for protecting victims.

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Jun 26, 2018
West Mercia, PC 20461 STONE

I just want to say that I use this referral system on many occasions. I have to say that the response and feedback is 1st class and what you do is in a real quick informative manner. Thanks