Articles regarding Legal Aid

LEGAL AID

LEGAL AID IS AVAILABLE FOR THOSE ON LOW INCOMES WITH 'EVIDENCE' OF DV

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THE SERVICE WE PROVIDE IS FREE TO THOSE WE HELP AND WE RECEIVE NO DIRECT FUNDING FOR THIS WORK. THAT'S WHY WE ASK FOR YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT WITH DONATIONS TO ENABLE US TO CONTINUE TO HELP OTHERS WHO ARE VICTIMS OF DV / PREVENTED FROM SEEING THEIR CHILDREN. Please use the VirginMoneyGiving button on our website home page.

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FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

We understand how busy health professionals are. We DON'T believe that you should have to be involved in this process BUT the Government sets the rules, and that's why your patient needs your help.

We've tried to make the process as simple as possible and have taken on board feedback from GP practices that have told us that our earlier request letters were too 'legalistic'. 

You patient should turn up with a pre-printed Referral Form where they've already included their details. They need you to insert your name, GMC registration number and signature. YOU ARE NOT BEING ASKED TO DIAGNOSE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE only to refer your patient to us for help and support as someone who is AT RISK OF DOMESTIC ABUSE.

With your referral to our charity we can produce an Evidence Letter that will help them get the help they need to improve their emotional well-being. 

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FOR THOSE NEEDING HELP 

Civil Legal Advice Helpline on 0345 345 4 345 for impartial advice about Legal Aid 

To qualify for Legal Aid you MUST meet ALL of the steps below. 

STEP ONE - The 'Means' Test

Check you are eligible because you're on a low income / have few assets. 
THIS UK GOVERNMENT LINK CHECKS YOUR FINANCIAL ELIGIBILITY ONLINE

You MUST confirm to us that you have completed the financial assessment online and that you qualify. The basic details are 

  • Do you receive an income based benefit eg Income Support, ESA (income based) etc ?
  • Is your combined household income less than £2,657 a month before tax?
  • Do you have £8,000 in savings, shares or property?

If you DONT pass the financial test you CANNOT get Legal Aid.

Legal Aid is NOT free. If you earn above around £20,000 p.a. the amount that YOU will have to pay as a contribution may make this option less attractive.

STEP TWO - The 'Merit' Test

The Legal Aid Agency may not fund the work if they dont think there is a reasonable chance of success OR what you're asking for is unreasonable. You'll need to discuss this with a solicitor. 

STEP THREE - DV Evidence

You'll need to provide 'Evidence' that you are, OR ARE AT RISK OF domestic violence and abuse.

1. OUR REFERRAL FORM 

Complete OUR Referral form HERE

You MUST sign the bottom of the form to confirm that you consent to us sharing your details with others ONLY to provide you with help & support.

Please print / scan the completed form WITH YOUR SIGNATURE and email it to legalaid@fnf-bpm.org.uk

2. EVIDENCE

We use the pathway that requires a referral from a Health professional to a specialist DV support service for help and support. 

YOU must download the Template HERE 

Insert your name / address / email & telephone numbers in the first box in the Template

Print the letter and take it to your GP, asking him / her to insert their name, GMC or NMC registration number, sign the form and use the Practice Stamp to confirm their details.   

Email or post the completed Template to us (details at the bottom of this page)

This is the best way to meet the Evidence threshold. We ALSO need you to complete our Referral Form (see point 1 above) and send that to us at the same time

IF YOUR GP WON'T AGREE TO SIGN THE FORM

Contact us on legalaid@fnf-bpm.org.uk and we'll advise you on alternative routes

checklist

  • Complete and sign the FNF-BPM referral form
  • Complete the Patient Referral Form and get your GP to include their details and signature (incl. their GMC registration
  • Email both documents to the following address - 

legalaid@fnf-bpm.org.uk 

or by post to

Legal Aid Dept. FNF BPM Cymru, 61 Cowbridge Rd East, Cardiff, CF11 9AE.  

 

Paul Apreda, National Manager, FNF BPM Cymru 

 

 


Read more about: Legal Aid

Guidance about Harassment and Stalking

An increasing number of the people who come to us for help and support are telling us that they are being threatened with allegations of Harrassment or Stalking. 

To help people to have a better understanding of the issues we've compiled the following brief guide from the Crown Prosecution Service website.

Anyone faced with allegations against them MUST seek professional legal advice and in the first instance look at the CPS guidance in full which is available here:

 

 

THE CHARITY CONDEMNS ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE INCLUDING HARASSMENT AND STALKING

 

Harassment

The term harassment is used to cover the 'causing alarm or distress' offences under section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 as amended (PHA), and 'putting people in fear of violence' offences under section 4 of the PHA. The term can also include harassment by two or more defendants against an individual or harassment against more than one victim.

Although harassment is not specifically defined it can include repeated attempts to impose unwanted communications and contacts upon a victim in a manner that could be expected to cause distress or fear in any reasonable person.

The elements of the section 2 offence are:

  • a course of conduct;
  • which amounts to harassment of another; and
  • which the defendant knows, or ought to know amounts to harassment of another.

Three defences are available to the section 2 offence:

  • that the course of conduct was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime;
  • that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment; (*see below) or
  • that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.

(*) AN EXAMPLE OF A 'CONDITION' COULD BE WHEN ATTENDING AT A PROPERTY TO COLLECT A CHILD FOR CONTACT UNDER THE TERMS OF AN ORDER FROM A FAMILY COURT.

The elements of the section 4 offence are:

  • a course of conduct;
  • which causes another to fear that violence will be used against him; and
  • which the defendant knows or ought to know will cause another to fear that violence will be used against him; and
  • the defendant ought to know that his course of conduct will cause another to fear that violence will be used against them if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think that the course of conduct would cause the other so to fear on that occasion.

Section 4 also includes the following statutory defences. It is for the defendant to show that:

  • the course of conduct was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime;
  • the course of conduct was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment; or
  • pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable for the protection of him or herself or another or for the protection of her, his or another's property.

 

Stalking

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 created two new offences of stalking by inserting new sections 2A and 4A into the PHA 1997. The two offences are in force from 25 November 2012 and provide further options for prosecutors to consider when selecting charges. The Home Office have issued guidelines and this can be accessed by clicking here.

 

Whilst there is no strict legal definition of 'stalking', section 2A (3) of the PHA 1997 sets out examples of acts or omissions which, in particular circumstances, are ones associated with stalking. These include: physical following; contacting, or attempting to contact a person by any means (this may be through friends, work colleagues, family or technology); or, other intrusions into the victim's privacy such as loitering in a particular place or watching or spying on a person.

The effect of such behaviour is to curtail a victim's freedom, leaving them feeling that they constantly have to be careful. In many cases, the conduct might appear innocent (if it were to be taken in isolation), but when carried out repeatedly so as to amount to a course of conduct, it may then cause significant alarm, harassment or distress to the victim.

Paul Apreda, National Manager, FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru - July 2013

 

 

 

New Children Act guidance from Welsh Government

The Welsh Government issued new guidance under The Children Act 1989 relating to both Private and Public Law and including the flowchart for Public Law outline on 27th June 2013. The document is meant for practitioners and other professionals in the Family Justice and related areas but may be useful to others in understanding some of the more complex areas - including procedural points.

The Guidance can be accessed here: http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dhss/legislation/130627childrenact89courtordersen.pdf

 

Any queries? Click here to contact us

 

Help and support for separated families
Branch website system developed for Families Need Fathers Both Parents Matter Cymru by Ideas Into Reality