Q: I have been mentally and physically abused by my husband for years, often in front of the children. I cannot take any more, but I have no money to get a solicitor and go to court for an injunction to stop him, or to leave him. Can you still get legal aid and if so, what do you have to do?
A: Legal aid is still available for victims of domestic abuse or violence who cannot afford to pay legal costs. A legal aid solicitor can advise you whether you would qualify, and you can make an appointment to see one right away. To qualify for legal aid, you will need to satisfy certain eligibility criteria, usually this means being on a low income or receiving income-based benefits. Your solicitor will ask to see proof of eligibility, so you should take along your national insurance number, an estimate of any capital assets you have such as a home, savings etc, current pay slips if you are working and/or proof of any benefits you are receiving.
Getting an injunction does however take time, so if you think you are in danger you should call the police right away as they take domestic violence seriously and can arrest your husband and issue a domestic violence protection notice. A domestic violence protection notice acts like a temporary restraining order. Within 48 hours of the notice being issued, excluding weekends, your husband would be summoned to court where a domestic violence protection order can be issued.
Unlike an injunction which you would have to apply for yourself, a domestic violence protection order is applied for by the police. It is however temporary, lasting only 14-28 days whilst you decide what further steps to take. Meanwhile, if your husband breaches the order, he could be arrested. You should speak to a solicitor as soon as possible.
This question has been answered by Deon Hayward, a Trainee Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry, please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website or call Oswestry 01691 659194 or Wrexham 01978 291456. As a firm, you will appreciate that we are still extremely busy, and due to current circumstances work may be interrupted – however cases are still ongoing and will be prioritised by urgency and need. Stay safe and thank you for your support.