Monday, 31 October 2011

Legal Aid is a Lifeline

Travelling to the southern most edge of the WI 'world' – for Cornwall Federation’s annual council meeting – and then on to Gwent Federation to celebrate its 90th birthday, brings October almost to a close. Today, the NFWI's report, Legal Aid is a Lifeline, was launched as the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill returns to the Commons for its report reading. The report states that "the government must include a comprehensive definition of domestic violence in the bill…the proposed eligibility criteria for women to access legal aid in family cases fails to reflect women's experience of domestic violence". As part of the launch, I spoke at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on domestic and sexual violence. Victims of domestic violence who had access to legal aid and survived were invited to share their unique personal experiences and we hope that together with the report, these damaging reforms will not become a reality.