Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson, welcomes a government u-turn on Legal Aid. The government have now pledged to support the victims of domestic violence applying for indefinite leave to remain under the domestic violence rule.
Bridget has long campaigned for justice for the victims of domestic violence. In Parliament, Bridget asked the Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke MP:
"Another aspect of the changes to legal aid is the removal of legal aid from women applying for indefinite leave to remain under the domestic violence rule. In an answer to a parliamentary question, the Minister for Immigration reported that only 710 women were granted that, so we are not talking about a considerable number, but they are very vulnerable individuals. Will the Secretary of State think again on that aspect of his proposals?"
Home Office Minister Jonathan Djanogly MP promised to write to Bridget with further details but failed to get back in time.
After further pressure from Bridget (see letter A below), the government finally responded and have promised to reverse its initial decision and will retain Legal Aid funding for victims of domestic violence applying for indefinite leave to remain under the domestic violence rule (see letter B below).
Commenting on the decision, Bridget said:
"I welcome the Government’s decision to support women fleeing domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence often suffer in silence and cannot escape from their abusive partners. In some cases, the support Legal Aid funding provides could literally mean the difference between life or death.
This decision ensures that the UK will maintain its reputation as a civilised country that rightly treats victims of domestic violence with the respect and support that they deserve."