How We Are Funded
DV Assist are lucky enough to have several personal connections with philanthropists who have supported us from our inception and are committed to doing so in the future
We receive donations from time to time from supporters and from survivors themselves!!
When a victim is referred to us we spend an inordinate amount of time with them in the following way:
1. We access their situation and decide if the case has merits under the Family Law Act using our experience and a bank of professionals to seek advice from if needs be.
2. We assess their ability for public funding (legal aid) if relevant. Legal Aid is means tested.
3. We obtain all necessary financial details that are required by the legal aid agency. These can be, but not limited to, bank statements, tenancy agreements, mortgage statements, proof of income, benefit letters, proof of identity etc.
4. We obtain, by appointment, a statement of the victims history of abuse in support of their application, this takes approximately 2 hours. We listen to all the details they provide and have to analyse and produce a statement that reflects accurately what they tell us. Too much information and a judge doesn't read it all, too little and they can't make a decision. There is a skill to produce statements, our case workers have experience in preparing these, many of whom are ex police officers and or have previously worked in DV.
5. The speed of how long all the above takes depends on how quickly a victim engages with us.
If you went directly to a solicitor they would also carry out all the above work. Please consider that you would first have to identify a firm that holds a legal aid family law certificate. You will then need an appointment to see them, that is if they have capacity to take your case on. There are still many towns in the UK that do not have any legal family solicitors. As with all legal aid matters, whether it be family law or crime the remuneration is poor. Solicitors have to work in the most cost effective way possible as all businesses do. Many solicitors just do not have the time to prepare a case in the above way at the speed needed for emergency applications. This is by no means a criticism, its simply having time and capacity. There are many solicitors that refer clients to us as they may not have the capacity to take on new clients.
There are 3 ways to obtain civil protection orders but only 2 ways if you require legal representation.
Being eligible for legal aid with or without a contribution towards your legal fees.
By paying privately for solicitors fees. Payments are made directly to solicitors and we suggest you shop around to get an exact price for the first two hearings. If a case goes beyond 2 hearings solicitors should be able to give you an estimate for future work depending on the complexity of it, or quote an hourly rate.
No Legal Representation:
If you do not qualify for legal aid and cannot afford legal fees, you can apply directly to the courts yourself as a " litigant in person".
We will help you with this process. We will identify your local family court, provide all the relevant forms and help you complete them. We help you prepare your witness statement and advice you on the whole process. We DO NOT MAKE ANY CHARGE for this.
We will help you serve the orders obtained by identifying a process server and obtaining quotes for you. Alternatively you can use the court free bailiff service however, from our experience, this is not a quick service.
Once we have prepared your case we will allocate one of our panel solicitors nearest to where you live.
It can take many hours to prepare a case particularly if we are constantly chasing for financial evidence, hours solicitors do not have.
As with any charity, we need an income stream and many solicitors make a payment for the above work. It is not a claimable disbursement from the legal aid agency but comes out of their profit costs. The allocation of a case to a solicitors is by no means dependent on us receiving any payments.
This is perfectly allowable under the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and The Legal Aid Agency.
Do we make a profit?
The definition of a profit is our income less our expenses. We made a very small profit last year. All our profit or any future profits are donated to DV organisations or victims that get decided at the end of the year. The decision is made jointly with all of our team.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ASSIST are a transparent organisation, we help everyone that we can, our name and reputation is the key to our existence and future.