Rights of Women

Rights of Women is a women’s voluntary organisation committed to informing, educating and empowering women concerning their legal rights.

The organisation is based in London and was founded in 1975. They seek to influence policy by undertaking original research, preparing responses to policy documents from Government and other sources. Rights of Women  organise conferences on women’s rights, and hold public meetings. They want women’s voices heard at every stage of public policy formulation.

In addition Rights of Women  offer free confidential legal advice to women on through their own advice line. Their website contains a lot of useful information and a link can be found here; Link to Rights of Women Website

Challenging the rules restricting Legal Aid

Rights of Women were recently successful in being granted permission to challenge the evidence requirements often referred to as the ‘domestic violence gateway’ to legal aid in many private family law cases.

The Law Society has supported their challenge (brought by the Public Law Project on their behalf) over the lawfulness of Government changes to legal aid which are preventing victims of domestic abuse from getting legal aid for family cases, even when it is clear there has been violence, or there is an ongoing risk of violence. Rights of Women argue that this is not what parliament intended.

A full hearing is expected before the end of the year

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There was an interesting case before the Court of Appeal this week which reminded us of how the Court deals with contact cases, where one parent has been abused by the other. The case I refer to is:

M (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1147

If you Google the full citation you will find the full judgement.

In brief; Just because a parent has abused the other, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t see their children, or rather doesn’t mean that there is value in the children seeing the abusive parent within a format that is safe for the children.

In this particular case;

 The mother ‘escaped’ the family home with the three boys on 5 December 2011. She took up accommodation in a women’s refuge. She had been the victim of significant domestic violence over a prolonged period. The two elder boys had witnessed the father’s physical and verbal aggression towards their mother and (more…)