Abused women will suffer from government cuts

Women living in abusive relationships will be killed or driven to suicide if the government agrees to cut legal aid

The National Federation of Women’s Institutes says government plans to cut legal aid will cause more women to remain in abusive relationships and end up killed or driven to suicide.

A report by the leading national charity claims the definition of domestic violence is too narrow and will deprive many vulnerable women of the protection they need.

‘The proposed eligibility criteria for women to access legal aid in family cases fails to reflect women’s experiences of domestic violence,’ say the charity.

‘Many women do not disclose domestic violence, and certain types of abuse such as psychological and sexual violence are extremely difficult to prove.’

The NFWI is calling on the government to put the appropriate safeguards in place to protect women. It maintains that without legal aid women will stay in abusive relationships, compromising their safety.

The coalition’s proposals to cut spending will result in legal aid being removed from such cases as medical negligence, housing, welfare, divorce, child custody, employment and debt in a bid to eradicate the ‘compensation culture’ that has flourished under the Labour government.

Labour peer Lord Bach who speaks on justice in the Lords says: ‘This cut is a deliberately calculated decision by the government to remove legal aid from those who need it most and make it more difficult, if not impossible, to get access to justice for the poor and disadvantaged.’

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