A FIVE-YEAR time limit preventing domestic abuse victims applying for legal aid will be scrapped from next year, the Ministry of Justice announced yesterday.
The government reforms will also allow support organisations for victims to submit evidence in court.
Under the current restrictions, applicants must provide objective evidence of abuse within the last five years to qualify for legal aid.
And the court only accepts evidence from law enforcement, medical professionals and social services.
The highly criticised restrictions, which were brought in under the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act of 2012, have left many victims to face their abusive ex-partners without representation.
The director of the Rights of Women Estelle du Boulay said: “The previous system was so clearly unjust, leaving many genuine survivors unable to access the legal aid they were entitled to, because the evidence requirements were narrow, onerous and unrealistic.
“We fought the government through the courts to bring in these reforms. We are particularly grateful to the many women survivors who provided testimony that enabled us to prove our case. Their voices have finally been listened to today.”