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    NCDV commits to 0800 freephone number

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    NCDV commits to 0800 freephone number

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    Changes to Ofcom regulations that recently came into force have  completely confused NCDV’s callers.

    NCDV’s incoming number is a very memorable 0844 8044999 and the caller was charged 5p, now Ofcom have specified that the callers service provider can charge whatever they like on top the 5p for calls made from mobile handsets and they are.

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    The situation is now so complicated for people to establish what the call charge would be it is almost impossible to find out the costs.

    EE have produced a 324 page booklet to help http://ee.co.uk/content/dam/ee-help/Help-PDFs/EE-PAYM-0809-Calling-010715.pdf  however there is a different 93 page booklet of you are on PAYG.

    Mark Groves, Head of Operations said ” It’s completely ridiculous, Ofcom have created a charging structure that is almost impossible to navigate in a timely fashion, I use Vodafone and I tried to establish the cost to call NCDV, 15 minutes later I gave up.”

    NCDV have decided to scrap their 0844 number and will now market is free phone number 0800 970 2070, Mark said ” We have always had our 0800 number but the costs of running this service are quite high nevertheless we have decided to bite the bullet because Ofcom have managed to make matters so difficult we don’t want to put any barrier in the way of a victim of domestic abuse or violence from calling us.”

    Mark said “I called Ofcom  and spoke to Patrick Perriam who advised me that they had had many complaints, I asked him how much it would be to call our 0844 number and despite having the information from Vodafone in front of him he could not find the answer.” he further told Mark that the service providers have not acted how they thought they were going to.

    Mark went on to say “Although Ofcom have taken many years to roll out this regulation they have not fully considered the consequences or liaised with service providers to ensure a consistent pricing structure for the public.”

    Calling NCDV’s freephone number is free from all mobiles and landlines.

     

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    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.”