Council Motion from Oldham Lib Dem Group – Scrap the domestic violence charge fee

This council:

  • Notes that in 2014/15 there were an estimated 1.3 million female victims and 600,000 male victims of domestic abuse and that, on average, 100 women and 30 men a year are killed in situations involving domestic abuse.
  • Remains totally committed to opposing domestic violence in all its forms, to supporting its victims, and to working for a society where all members of our community treat one another with compassion, kindness and respect.
  • Believes that Government should share these priorities and is therefore bitterly opposed to Conservative Government proposals requiring victims of domestic violence seeking legal aid to provide a prescribed piece of evidence to prove they have been subjected to abuse.
  • Notes that such evidence can include a letter from a General Practitioner for which some GPs charge a fee of up to £75, as this sits outside of the NHS contract.
  • Believes that it is totally unreasonable to expect the victims of domestic violence to pay such a fee; that many such victims will struggle to find the fee.

Council resolves to:

  • Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Minister of Justice outlining this Council’s opposition to the imposition of a requirement for victims of domestic violence to produce letters or similar evidence of abuse to access legal aid and asking the Government to scrap this requirement.
  • Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Borough’s three Members of Parliament and the new Mayor of Greater Manchester asking them to support this position.
  • Ask the Health and Well-being Board and the Domestic Violence Partnership to contact local GPs asking them to make a commitment not to charge victims for letters until such time as this requirement is scrapped.

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