Resolution statement on Government amendments to Legal Aid Bill

News Release

01 Mar 2012

As the Government’s Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill enters Report Stage in the House of Lords (on Monday) the Government has accepted calls to adopt the police’s widely used definition of what constitutes domestic violence (the ACPO definition). The Government has said that this makes it clear that on top of physical abuse, psychological and emotional abuse will also be regarded as domestic violence, as will financial abuse through bullying a partner by controlling their finances.

Speaking in response to the announcement, Resolution's Chair, David Allison, said:

“We are pleased that the Government has finally decided to adopt the almost universally-accepted ACPO definition of domestic violence. However, while they may have amended the definition, they have not yet changed the evidence gateway criteria that determines whether victims actually receive the protection of legal advice and representation, when dealing with the consequences of their divorce or separation.

“The Government has said today that mediation is unsuitable for victims of domestic violence – in which case they need to amend the gateway criteria before this Bill goes back to the Commons.

“We do welcome this move on the definition, but the confusion surrounding where it leaves victims of domestic violence demonstrates that the Government needs to think again about the impact of its proposals.”