If the independent parliamentary authorities aka parliamentary watchdog are to be believed more than one-third of domestic violence victims in the United States are unable to provide authentic documents and pieces of evidence to prove the crime against them and obtain legal aid
Victims are forced to stay with their abusive partners and exposed to their intimidation if they are left unrepresented by a lawyer in the Court of Justice. Confronting their attackers and exposing their evil side also becomes difficult for them.
According to the report, submitted the access to justice has been harmed for litigants who face domestic abuse because of the 2012 LASPO(Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act).
According to the LASPO act, if the victim fails to provide evidence not older than 2 years then the legal aid is withdrawn from family law cases. There is also a limitation of the evidence that can be submitted. It can be a police caution, conviction, a letter of protective injunction from a health professional or as a last resort the residence of refuge proof.
This makes it difficult for victims to prove their attacker guilty says the report. According to the survey conducted by the right of women organization, more than 39% of women who are the victim of domestic violence fail to prove proper legal documents to avail legal aid.
According to a case cited in the report a victim of domestic abuse by her partner was refused legal aid because she spent the last two years in prison. The court ruled in favor of the violent man despite the involvement of a child that is the sole reason that the report suggests that the time limit to be relaxed and add a “catch-all” clause in the LASPO.
According to a committee report submitted to the ministry of Justice there have been a lot of savings after the reforms in the introduction of LASPO in 2012 while not discouraging any unnecessary litigation at public expense. Since the exceptional case funding is dysfunctional, the money is not being targeted where it should be. There is also no proof that the overall value of the taxpayers money has improved.
If the opinions of legal experts are taken into consideration a lot of taxpayer’s money is saved as the Ministry of Justice is unable to provide for the legal fees of many victims as they do not meet the required criterias.
According to the Ministry of Justice spokespersons report Legal aid is a crucial part of the justice system prevailing in the United States. It is a $1.5bn PA aid provided to the domestic violence abused victims. The stand of the government is clear that only the victims who have proper proof against their abuser are allowed to avail free legal aid to be free from the clutches of their abuser. After careful evaluations, the pieces of evidence that the victim need to posses are expanded in order to receive legal aid. Post reforms many people have successfully applied for legal aid and have been helped by the government in domestic violence cases.
According to him the victims who fall under the LASPO act have been provided with legal aid and this move is to ensure that victims who need legal help the most gets it free of cost from the government. He also added that a close watch is kept on the committee report, and necessary changes will be made only if cited.
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