The five-year time limit on evidence of abuse which prevented vulnerable victims of domestic violence from securing legal aid for court hearings has been removed. This means more victims will be able to bring a claim.
Previously, claimants had to prove they had been the victim of abuse within the past five years, and specific evidence to support their claims, such as a letter from a doctor, an injunction, a conviction against the abuser, or a letter from social services. Now, a wider range of evidence will be accepted including statements given by organisations working with the victims as evidence of risk, solicitors’ letters, and information collected from housing officers.
In a related move, victims of domestic violence will no longer be cross-examined by their abusers in the family court under proposals to insert provisions to that effect into s31 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.