Legal Aid Scheme: Domestic Violence

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 22nd November 2018.

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Photo of Dawn Butler Dawn Butler Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect of charging victims of domestic violence up to £175 for a medical letter to prove they were abused on the ability of victims to access legal aid.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We are aware that some GPs have been charging to provide letters as evidence of domestic abuse to support legal aid applications. Charges for services provided by GPs are set through the contractual relationship between GPs and the NHS.

This practice is unacceptable. GPs are charging people at their most vulnerable and we are working with the Department of Health and Social Care to identify what more we could do to help victims of domestic abuse access the help they need. This important issue has been put forward as part of the GP contract negotiations for 2019-20. Whilst the content of those negotiations is not discussed publicly until an agreement has been reached, the Government is committed to dealing with this issue, through this process.

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