If you are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse you may have contact with the courts.
This may be through:
- Obtaining injunctions and other legal measures to help prevent domestic abuse from continuing.
- Going through the family court system to negotiate child contact arrangements.
- Prosecutions following a crime taking place.
In all instances, you can get support. The Somerset Domestic Abuse Service can help provide you with advice and where needed, help you access other suitable services. For example, solicitors who are experienced in working with those affected by domestic abuse.
If you are required to provide evidence to support a criminal trial, then the Crown Prosecution Service can help make sure this is carried out sensitively through what is known as ‘special measures’. The domestic abuse service can help support you with this.
You might be able to get legal aid if you have evidence that you or your children have been victims of domestic abuse or violence and you cannot afford to pay legal costs.
You do not have to get evidence before talking to a legal aid solicitor or Civil Legal Advice (CLA), but they will need to see it before deciding whether you can get legal aid.
What counts as domestic abuse for legal aid
You or your children must have been victims of either:
- Domestic abuse or violence
- Financial control, for example, being stopped from accessing a joint bank account
What counts as evidence
You will usually need to show that you or your children were at risk of harm from an ex-partner.
You can ask for evidence from:
- the courts
- the police
- a multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC)
- social services
- a health professional, for example, a doctor, nurse, midwife, psychologist or health visitor
- a refuge manager
- a domestic abuse support service
- your bank, for example, credit card accounts, loan documents and statements
- your employer, or education or training provider
- the provider of any benefits you have received
How to get evidence
You can download and print a sample letter to send to the police, courts, or medical and social services.
This helps you get the proof you need, depending on whether:
- you have been a victim
- your children have been victims
Give the letter to the person you’re asking to provide evidence. They will be able to fill in the details for you. You might have to pay a fee for this.
You can get more information on the GOV.UK website – Legal Aid