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Dr Aisha K Gill
Reader in Criminology, University of Roehampton, London:
The British legal system can be a minefield for women who have experienced domestic violence. Currently, their options for accessing legal services are limited to either self-funding their case or utilizing an underfunded means tested Legal Aid program. This problem is exacerbated by the relative lack of low-cost or free alternatives available to women. To date, little research has been conducted on domestic violence victims’ use of, and access to, Legal Aid in the UK. However, providing access to justice for women who have experienced gender-based violence has a wide array benefits, not least among them access to justice for their children. This paper highlights the consequences of denying women Legal Aid through focusing on the experiences of female victims of domestic violence. Commissioned by the National Federation of Women’s Institute it has four research objectives linked to issues of access and process within the country’s legal services:
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