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Changes to legal support given to domestic abuse victims is much needed and long-overdue.

6th December 2017

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, responding to the announcement of changes to legal aid support, said:

“I am pleased to see the Ministry of Justice finally scrapping time the five year time limit that prevents vulnerable domestic abuse survivors from accessing legal aid. This is sorely needed and long overdue.

“This will give a lifeline to many victims and provide them with much needed support in addressing vital issues such as parenting arrangements for their children, financial support for them and also the family’s housing arrangements.

“I equally welcome the broadening of the documents accepted as evidence of abuse in order to access legal aid. Too many victims of domestic abuse, who have found the strength to come forward, have been let down by the existing system and the endless loopholes. Having the restrictions relaxed to include statements from domestic violence support organisations and housing support officers should have been a foregone conclusion many years ago.

“I now look forward to details of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill in the New Year that will better protect victims and transform our approach to this abhorrent crime.”