NCDV Announces it has helped Record Numbers of Applicants pro bono in 2019
Numbers follow Surge in National Awareness of Domestic Violence
NCDV, the Guildford-based National Centre for Domestic Violence, has today announced that it has helped over 3000 victims, pro bono, in England during 2019 – a record number – to make applications to Courts for Non-Molestation Orders.
Mark Groves, chief executive, commenting on the figures said:
“We make no charge whatsoever to the victims who call us. We’re here to help those who cannot afford a solicitor get legal aid funding urgently so that they can apply for and get proper legal protection in place.
“If some victims don’t qualify for legal aid but still cannot afford a solicitor that is when we can step in and help them pro bono – typically using our experience to help them appear as a Litigant in Person.
“With the hard work and dedication of a great team we have managed to increase the number of victims we helped pro bono from 2000 in 2018 to over 3000 in 2019.
“The increase in our pro bono work reflects rising public awareness of domestic violence and abuse – partly due to campaigns such as NCDV’s own World Cup initiative in July 2018 and recent coverage of national figures such as ex PM Teresa May and the Duchess of Cornwall.
“Every month we receive about 7000 calls from people who are already suffering from, or at severe risk of, domestic violence and abuse, including controlling behaviour.
“Most of these callers, though by no means at all, are women who have been referred to us by the police. Our service in helping victims secure Non Molestation Orders is one of the most effective counters to domestic violence because if abusers breach a NMO it is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison.
“Many callers are however in financial as well as domestic distress.
“While we are able to help as many as 1000 a month secure legal aid funding to instruct a law firm there are many others who will fail to qualify for full funding, due to the very strict criteria governing the allocation of legal aid. One victim was asked to make a personal contribution of £45,000! The net result is that many victims cannot afford to pay for their own legal protection.
“All those facing financial hardship for whom we cannot secure legal aid we try to help in some way or another. Our pro bono work is a small, but significant step towards the long term goal of making domestic violence socially unacceptable.”
NCDV is a 45 strong team based in Guildford, Surrey which helps victims of domestic violence and abuse get fast, free advice on how to obtain effective legal protection from their abusers.
The organisation helps callers from all over England irrespective of their financial circumstances and aims to get effective legal protection in place for them in as little as 24 hours.
NCDV, whose purpose is to make domestic violence socially unacceptable in under 30 years, was originally founded in 2002 as the London Centre for Domestic Violence by ex-barrister and erstwhile policeman, Dr Steve Connor OBE. It is now headed by chief executive, Mark Groves, an expert in management and technology systems who joined Connor’s team in 2008.
NCDV has trained over 8000 police officers all over England on how to counter domestic violence and abuse. It has launched pioneering database systems, such as its award winning ASSIST online portal to help local police have access to national Court Orders providing them with enforcement evidence and an award winning app to make timely referrals of victims.
NCDV’s top-rated work has been recognised in thousands of accolades from individual police officers, charities and victims themselves and by many awards including the Law Society’s coveted Excellence in Client Service Award in 2015, the only time such an award has not been won by a law firm.