We are proud to have been awarded funding from The Access to Justice Foundation, to increase the support available to victims of domestic abuse facing private law proceedings. The funding will also allow us to develop an innovative pilot working with individuals, couples and co-parents to deescalate disputes and support with safe arrangements for children. The project starts on 1st July 2023 and runs until March 2025.
The Access to Justice Foundation work with the Ministry of Justice to deliver the Improving Outcomes Through Legal Support (IOTLS) grant programme.
The grant funding IDAS have been awarded will provide:
- Increased support for victims of domestic abuse navigating family court proceedings across North & South Yorkshire
- Further development of the existing Family Court website, including additional videos and guides familycourts.idas.org.uk
- A dedicated online Live Chat to support with private law family matters, available 3 hours per week
- Additional Court IDVAs (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) working in North Yorkshire and Doncaster
Many of the people we support do not meet the eligibility criteria for legal aid and struggle with legal costs. This funding aims to assist people navigate the legal system, understand their options and provide additional assistance for parents who are representing themselves in court.
Securing this additional funding will enable us to further advance our work in this area as well as help us directly support more victims and survivors.
Since 2018, we have undertaken extensive work to improve the experience and safeguarding of victims involved in private law proceedings, including producing a report, setting up a Domestic Abuse & Family Court working group for York and North Yorkshire to further the recommendations of the report, and launching a dedicated family court website.
We have also worked with North Yorkshire Police, CGI, HMCTS and the Judiciary to pilot Project Shield, improving the management of non-molestation orders; worked with University of York and York St John University Law Schools to establish the CLOCK project (providing assistance to people who need to represent themselves in court) and secured funding for Court IDVAs.
This work is vital for survivors. Grace* a survivor of domestic abuse who has had to go to court for private child arrangement proceedings said, “Having been in an abusive marriage and now trying to navigate my way through single parenthood while fending off the post separation abuse of my ex, I found myself increasingly despondent, without hope and accepting of a life purely based on existing and surviving.
“Since encountering IDAS and having their support all of this has changed. In a world of abuse, you live in a world of chaos, confusion and fear. IDAS has made me feel heard and validated. In such a short space of time they have helped me to have hope again and to realise that both my children and I deserve a life that is free of abuse and full of happiness, I cannot express how invaluable their service is and how immense their impact is.”
Samira*, survivor of domestic abuse also said, "IDAS were able to support with the special arrangements for me in court. Without this support I do not know what I would have done. This has been a frightening time but knowing I had your help, and you were able to arrange things made a difference to me. It was still traumatic, but I felt so much better than the first time when I had no support at all.”
Anna* also experienced challenges during family court proceedings, she said, “This sort of support is remarkable, it is really unbelievable. The impact it has had on me and will have on others is unmeasurable. To think that support is available when you feel so fragile and vulnerable, trying to keep things together for the kids, is just life changing for me. I mean, how do you ask for help when you don’t know why or understand what’s happening and when the system is so overwhelming?
“Coming to terms with abuse and making sense of that is frightening. For me being alone in a country that was not my place of birth and with no family and no one to turn to has been exhausting. I have had no one, but then IDAS came along and have given me hope again and I feel like I am getting myself back”
We are now recruiting to a number of roles to undertake this work. Please visit https://idas.org.uk/get-involved/work-for-us/ for more information
For further information about the project, please contact email@example.com. To refer someone for support, please use our secure, online referral form.