National Centre for Domestic Violence Logo

Please note that Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser so we cannot guarantee the integrity of our website when using it. Please use an alternate browser like Edge or Chrome.

Access ASSIST Online Injunction Database

Click here to leave training feedback

-or-

Make a Referral Using the Form Below:









    YesNo

    YesNo
    *Fields required. By submitting a referral you agree to receive updates on the progress of your referral, as outlined in our Privacy Policy.

    David Lidington 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

    Reading Time: 2 minutes

    David Lidington 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

    emblem

    “David Lidington 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”

    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”.

    Share This Article

    Share on facebook
    Share on twitter
    Share on linkedin
    Share on pinterest
    Share on email
    Share on whatsapp
    Reading Time: 3 minutes
    Reading Time: < 1 minute
    Reading Time: < 1 minute

    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.”