Campaign with us
We campaign on a range of legal issues affecting women and support a number of campaigns by other organisations.
To keep up to date with our campaigns and other campaigns we are supporting follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Our current campaigns
Without legal aid women are unable to access the legal remedies the law affords them. One woman told us that the loss of legal aid will have a “devastating effect. It will be a dangerous situation for abused women, they will stay with abusive partners or they will flee a home when they are the ones that deserve to stay in it.”
Since the publication of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill we have campaigned to hold the Government to their promise that legal aid for family law cases would not be lost to those affected by domestic violence.
During our campaign we briefed Parliamentarians, gave evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Legal Aid, met with ministers and civil servants and protested outside Parliament.
We achieved important victories during the passage of the Bill including the inclusion of the definition of domestic violence in the Act and the broadening of the domestic violence gateway to include referral to MARAC and reports from health professionals.
Yet after the implementation of the new domestic violence gateway criteria, our research shows that the legal aid regulations continue to restrict access to legal advice and representation to women affected by domestic violence and deny access to safety and justice to the very women whom the Government expressly sought to protect from the removal of family law from the scope of the legal aid scheme.
Our research shows that:
- nearly half of women who had experienced or were experiencing domestic violence do not have the prescribed forms of evidence to access family law legal aid
- of those who do 23% have to wait longer than 2 weeks to get copies of the evidence
- finding a legal aid solicitor has become harder – 33% of women have to travel between 5 and 15 miles to find a legal aid solicitor, 13% have to travel more than 15 miles
- nearly half of women take no action in relation to their family law problem as a result of not being able to apply for legal aid, leaving them unable to escape from violent relationships or rebuild their and their children’s lives after separation
Amendments and additions to the evidence criteria introduced in April 2014 were welcome and mean that more women affected by violence will now be eligible for legal aid but there remain fundamental problems with the gateways.
The strict evidence requirements make it difficult if not impossible for women to evidence emotional and psychological abuse and the two year time limit on most of the evidence simply does not reflect to reality of the ongoing risk of violence women and children experience.
For this reason our campaign continues.
Read more of our research on the impact of the legal aid cuts here
Read more about our campaign to save legal aid here
Watch us talk about the impact of the changes to legal aid on women here
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for campaign updates.
End Violence against Women
We are a member of the End Violence Against Women Coalition which campaigns to end all forms of violence against women.
Find out more about the work of the Coalition here
Women’s Asylum Charter
Every woman seeking asylum in the UK should be treated fairly, and with dignity and respect.
We are a member of the Women’s Asylum Charter a coalition of organisations calling for minimum standards in the UK asylum system to address the inequalities in the system for women fleeing persecution and violence overseas.
Now is your chance to help close the protection gap for women seeking asylum.
Take action in the new campaign which starts today!
In the past few months new initiatives have come into play for women facing rape and violence at home and abroad. But women seeking asylum are falling through a protection gap.
William Hague and Angelina Jolie signed off an international agreement on how a woman raped during a civil war should be supported. But if that woman comes to the UK to seek protection she isn’t guaranteed the same support. There is a glaring hypocrisy in how we treat women and girls who seek protection in the UK; they continue to be missed out of government policies on violence against women.
We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:
- in front of her children
- to a male interviewer or interpreter if she is not comfortable with this
- to someone who doesn’t understand how trauma affects memory
- without being given counselling
- without information about her rights as a woman in the asylum system
We believe that five particular measures in Hague and Jolies’s international agreement are also vitally important for women seeking asylum in the UK.Let’s tell Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to use her powers to put these measures in place in the asylum system now
- Provide childcare during screening and asylum interview
- Guarantee that women can have a female interviewer and interpreter if they choose
- Training for interviewers and interpreters on sexual violence, trauma and memory
- Counselling and support for trauma for women who have experienced gender-based harm
- Information about the asylum process, rights and entitlements specific to women seeking asylum
Take action now to close the Protection Gap for women seeking asylum.
Visit www.asylumaid.org.uk/protectiongap to find out how.