18/04/2012 3:30 pm
CSAN, the Catholic Church’s social action arm, last night welcomed late government changes to the LASPO bill, which will protect legal aid for domestic abuse victims.
The Secretary of State for Justice Ken Clarke expanded the list of evidence that domestic abuse victims could provide to prove eligibility for legal aid. Statements from GPs, women’s refuges and the police will now continue to count as evidence for legal aid provision. The Secretary of State also increased the proposed time limit on the validity of evidence to 24 months.
Helen O’Brien, Chief Executive of CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) said “Legal aid is nothing short of essential for allowing many victims of domestic abuse to escape the cycle of fear and mistreatment. We are pleased that the government has recognised the importance of legal aid provision and has continued to make it accessible to those who are in very vulnerable situations”
The government’s u-turn on legal aid provision for domestic abuse victims comes after a period of campaigning by a number of groups including CSAN, which coordinated a public letter sent to Ken Clarke signed by the leaders of 10 major faith groups.
CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) is the official social action agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Signatories to the letter to Ken Clarke:
Most Rev Peter Smith, RC Archbishop of Southwark; Rt Rev Timothy Stevens, Bishop of Leicester (Church of England) ; Rev Dr Patricia Took, President, Baptist Union of Great Britain; Rev Leo Osborn, President, Methodist Conference; Rev Dr Kirsty Thorpe, Moderator of the General Assembly, United Reformed Church; Lt Col Marion Drew, Secretary for Communications, Salvation Army ;Jon Benjamin, Chief Executive, Board of Deputies of British Jews; Baron Singh of Wimbledon CBE, Director, Network of Sikh Organisations UK; Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha; Malcolm M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe.
The letter’s content is supported by Bharti Tailor, Secretary General of the Hindu Forum of Britain.
More about the inter-faith letter - http://bit.ly/wkdzlL
Public Policy and Public Affairs Officer
CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network)
020 7901 4846
078 1030 0532