Concern over legal aid for domestic abuse survivors
Written by centralfmnews on December 2, 2019
Women who are experiencing domestic violence are not getting the legal advice and support they need.
That’s according to a report by Women’s Aid Scotland.
It’s calling on the government to make legal representation more accessible to survivors of domestic abuse.
Dr Marsha Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said:
“Women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse are told every day that justice applies to them, and they discover every day, through lack of access to vital services, that in fact it doesn’t.
“At Scottish Women’s Aid we have been hearing for decades about the difficulties women and children face in getting legal support and services when they need them. Workers in every one of our 36 services tell us horror stories of poor or no service – women representing themselves because they can’t afford a lawyer, children being treated as pawns by abusers in civil processes that routinely violate children’s rights, lawyers telling women not to mention the domestic abuse because Sheriffs don’t want to hear about it, and then being accused of changing their story in subsequent proceedings.
“The fact that women and children who have experienced domestic abuse struggle to access the support they need, at the appropriate time, is causing more harm and contributing to their continued suffering. Despite political rhetoric promising systematic change, existing structures for delivery of justice in Scotland obstruct the change promised.
“This does not represent the Scotland that any of us want, but we have to challenge the ‘Aye Been’ of how we fund and provide services to make justice real for victim-survivors. At Scottish Women’s Aid we are excited to take the next step on this journey towards getting us there.”