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Domestic Violence (Victims)

Volume 572: debated on Tuesday 17 December 2013

Domestic violence is a dreadful form of abuse and is not acceptable within our society. The Government are committed to providing greater protection to victims of all forms of violence, and their approach to domestic violence and abuse is set out in the violence against women and girls action plan, updated in 2013.

Last week’s report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Government’s legal aid cuts said:

“We are particularly worried about the impact of the residence test on vulnerable groups such as children or victims of domestic violence.”

Will the Minister tell the House exactly how much will be saved by taking away legal aid from sufferers of domestic violence affected by the residence test, and explain what victims are expected to do if these plans strip them of the option of legal aid?

The Government have left in place all the exemptions in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 to ensure that the most vulnerable continue to receive legal aid. Beyond that, we have ring-fenced nearly £40 million for specialist local domestic and sexual violence support services. That, together with specialist domestic violence courts, provides a better specialist way of dealing with this terrible abuse.