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News

Nov 19, 2018

Staying Put launches new Affordable Legal Services

Staying Put is launching a new legal service to help survivors of domestic abuse. Affordable Legal Services @ Staying Put will offer legal advice to all victims and survivors of domestic abuse who are not eligible for legal aid.

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The scheme has been funded by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, and was officially launched at the Staying Put & DVS Annual Review on Friday November 16.

Yasmin Khan, Director of Staying Put, said: “We are delighted to announce this new service will be available soon. We’re determined to deliver this service to ensure the most disadvantaged victims of domestic abuse are able to access legal advice and representation at a fraction of the cost.

“We know that on average 25-30 per cent of victims and survivors of domestic abuse are not eligible for legal aid. This means they are often unable to access legal advice and representation.

“A domestic violence victim who wants to use a high street solicitor to apply for a non-molestation order currently has to pay a significant amount for the order alone – these costs increase if the application is contested.

“Our new not-for-profit service would provide the same level of service for a fraction of the cost, making it far more affordable for vulnerable people.”

Staying Put has recruited two Family Law solicitors, Asia Majid and Parminder Kumari, and is hoping the new service will be available from early 2019.

Asia Majid, lead solicitor, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the brilliant and dedicated team at Staying Put. This will provide an opportunity for survivors of domestic abuse to access qualified solicitors and get expert help on issues including non-molestation orders, occupation orders and representation in proceedings concerning children.

“I’m very excited to be part of this new service, which will provide real help for domestic abuse survivors across West Yorkshire.”

West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson (PCC), said: “I am really pleased to be able to support this project, which will help to protect and support some of our most vulnerable residents, providing legal assistance to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it during very difficult and stressful times.

“It also aligns closely to the priorities and outcomes set out in my Police and Crime Plan, such as safeguarding vulnerable people, supporting victims and witnesses, as well as tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. I wish them well in offering these new legal services and I’ll be keen to see how it goes.”

Once the new service is up and running, it is expected to support around 150 people in the first six months across West Yorkshire. After a year it is hoped the service will become a self-funding sustainable social enterprise.

In West Yorkshire, between November 2016 and October 2017 there were 56,421 domestic related incidents reported – an average of 154 a day.

The Staying Put Freephone helpline is open Monday to Friday, 0808 2800999.

The National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline is open 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

For more information on the services provided by Staying Put, go to www.stayingput.uk.net