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    Not For Profit Charter

    Not For Profit Charter 1

    Who We Are

    NCDV is a Community Interest Company (CIC) whose sole purpose is to help victims of domestic abuse and violence get the urgent legal protection they need to reclaim control of their lives.

    As a Community Interest Company (CIC) our social objective and vision is to help people identify the early signs of domestic abuse, make decisions for a better life and to make domestic abuse socially unacceptable.

    We reinvest all our profits into helping victims and therefore we have created our “Not For Profit Charter”.

    From our headquarters in Guildford, Surrey, our 70 strong team advises victims all over England how to apply for protective injunctions.

    Of the 9000 callers every month many are eligible for legal aid however those who are not are supported by us as litigants in person or as part of a partnership programme with large law firms.

    We turn nobody away and help all irrespective of financial status, creed, race, sexual orientation or identity.

    At the time of writing, we do not operate in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

    Our Promise To You

    As the largest provider of legal support to victims of domestic violence and abuse in England we make these promises to victims, referrers and our solicitors’ panel:

    To put the needs of victims above any other consideration.

    Victims of domestic violence and abuse may have suffered years of controlling, abusive and violent behaviour. We know how frightening it is to have to place trust in another person. We pledge never to undervalue that trust. We promise to treat every victim with the respect they deserve, the compassion they need and try our best to get them the outcomes they need.

    To provide support to any victim regardless of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or financial position.

    To us, a victim’s status is irrelevant. We will send nobody away empty handed. We will treat each and every person fairly and equally. Those who do not qualify for legal aid we aim to help with practical advice, referrals to other sources of help or support and/or pro bono support to apply for Court Orders.

    To never charge a victim to make an application for a protective injunction.

    We never have and we never will charge a victim and we take no government funding. We have a created an income stream to enable us to provide services to victims and referral agencies for no charge. There may be costs associated with Courts and process serving but we will use our best endeavours to financially help victims if these arise.

    To invest all surplus profit in the interests of protecting all survivors of domestic abuse.

    Any profits that we generate will be reinvested into the domestic abuse sector, whether that be to support other agencies, create new innovations for protection or to help individual victims.

    To try and protect victims legally within as little as 24 hours of a referral.

    We promise to act fast. To that end, we continue to streamline and improve processes that enable us to deal with referrals in real time: Refer Direct via the internet, cross platform app, freephone and text back integrate seamlessly with our database enabling us to revert to a victim, often within minutes. Our ideal is to get legal protection in place for a victim within 24 hours of first contact with them.

    To give victims supportive, objective, thorough and, above all, safe advice on their rights and options.

    The legal landscape can be extremely difficult for victims who may be in great distress to understand or navigate. While we are not lawyers, we partner with some of the best in the country to get essential legal protection in place. 

    To provide a victim status feedback loop to referral agencies and the police.

    Critical to our ability to help protect victims is our relationship with referral agencies and the police. That is why we provide free training to them on how to dovetail with our services. We ensure that we give police and other referrers timely and accurate feedback on a victim’s welfare and progress once a referral is made.

    To maintain a national online portal for the police to view protective injunctions.

    Our ASSIST online portal allows the police to download copies of protective injunctions. By collaborating with the Courts we maintain a comprehensive live database which enables the police to respond to injunction breaches in the shortest possible time.

    To expect the highest possible standards of client care from our solicitors’ panel.

    We will monitor the performance of all our partner solicitors to ensure they are not only complying with the minimum standards set by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority but to the standards we demand to give the proper care to our victims.

    To learn from our mistakes.

    Whenever and wherever we make mistakes we undertake to rectify them and learn from each instance so as to improve our organisation and our service.

    To act transparently.

    We pledge to earn the trust of victims, referrers and partners by acting transparently at all times. In particular we recognize that we owe the very highest duties of care in protecting the rights of individuals in conformity with all data protection legislation.

    To nurture and support our own team’s talent and wellbeing.

    At the heart of our service are our fantastic staff who generously give their time to help people in distress with their professional skill and compassion. We know that this is a demanding if ultimately truly rewarding job. We place our team at the very centre of our organisation, offering them a package of benefits including fair pay, clear career path, extensive training and a caring environment when the going gets particularly tough.

    Diversify our services.

    We will continually develop the services we provide, creating a more rounded solution to provide additional support beyond the needs of domestic abuse.

    By Fiona Bawden, Times Online (8th May 2007)

    “Steve Connor, a student at City Law School, is a man on a mission. Six years ago he was a fairly directionless 27-year-old. Today, as well as taking the Bar Vocational Course, he is chairman of the National Centre for Domestic Violence, a ground-breaking organisation that he dragged into existence after a friend could not get legal help to protect her from an abusive partner.

    Connor’s route to the Bar has been circuitous. In 2001 he returned from a year in Australia (he says that he would not dignify describing it as a gap year), and took a job as a process server in South London. The job (“I just saw it advertised in the paper”) was not quite as dull as it sounds. On one occasion he was threatened with a machete, on another, he was nearly stabbed by a man he had arranged to meet on Clapham Common to serve with a non-molestation order: “He’d seemed really friendly on the phone…”

    The turning point in his life came when a friend, who was being abused by her partner, turned to him for support. Connor went with her to the police. She did not want to press criminal charges so the police suggested that she visit a solicitor to take out a civil injunction. “We must have seen 12 solicitors in a morning. We just went from one to the next to the next to the next. Everyone was very eager to help until we sat down to fill in the forms for the legal aid means test,” he says. The woman, who had a small child, did not qualify for public funding. But, Connor says, her financial situation as it appeared on paper did not bear any relation to her financial situation in reality. “She had a part-time job and she and her partner owned their home. Yet she didn’t have any money. Her boyfriend was very controlling and controlled all the money; he kept the chequebooks and didn’t let her have access to the bank account.”

    The injustice of the situation got under Connor’s skin. “I just couldn’t believe that there was no help available to people who did not qualify for public funds but could not afford to pay.

    I just kept feeling that this must be able to be sorted if only someone would address it.”That “someone” turned out to be him.

    In 2002, thanks entirely to Connor’s doggedness, the London Centre for Domestic Violence was formed. It started out with him and a friend, but is now a national organisation, covering 27 counties, and has helped approximately 10,000 victims last year to take out injunctions against their partners.

    NCDV now has nine full-time staff, 12 permanent volunteers and has trained over 5000 law and other students as McKenzie Friends to accompany unrepresented victims into court. We have also trained over 8000 police officers in civil remedies available regarding domestic violence. The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) has branches in London, Guildford and Manchester and is on track to have branches in 16 areas within the next two years.

    NCDV specialises exclusively in domestic violence work and could be characterised as a cross between McDonald’s and Claims Direct. The high degree of specialisation means that its processes are streamlined: clients can be seen quickly and the work is done speedily and cheaply. “Sometimes, we will have one of our trained McKenzie Friends at a court doing 10 applications in one day,” Connor says.

    Clients are not charged for the service. NCDV staff take an initial statement: clients who qualify for legal aid are referred to a local firm; those that don’t get free help from the centre itself. It runs on a shoestring, heavily reliant on volunteers and capping staff salaries at £18,000 a year.

    Steve expects to qualify as a barrister this summer and hopes that having a formal legal qualification will give the centre added clout. “We are already acknowledged as experts and consulted at a high level, so I thought it would be helpful if I could back that up by being able to say I’m a barrister,” he says. He is just about to complete a one-year full-time BVC course at the City Law School (formerly the Inns of Court Law School) and, all being well, should be called to the Bar in July. Although Connor sees his long-term future as a barrister, he says that he has no immediate plans to practise. “I want to get NCDV running on a fully national level. Then I may take a step back and have a career at the Bar.”