A huge thank you to everyone who has signed our petition to scrap the fee for domestic violence victims, who are being charged as much as £175 for a legal aid letter from their GP. Yesterday, our campaign was discussed at the highest level in the UK, when Labour Lady Baroness Thornton raised the issue in the House of Lords.
Baroness Thornton told the chamber: "As Tom Watson rightly points out, domestic violence victims suffer enough. No GP should charge a victim of domestic abuse for a letter they need to access legal aid. It is unfair and immoral. I hope the Minister will agree that this has to stop."
Baroness Thornton tabled an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill, which would force the Government to stop GPs charging for a legal aid letter when domestic violence is taking place in a family which includes children.
The amendment was not accepted but Ministers have agreed to meet with Baroness Thornton to discuss the issue in more detail. The Government is also due to report on the findings of research undertaken by the Ministry of Justice in conjunction with legal aid providers and domestic violence support organisations over the summer.
I look forward to working with Baroness Thornton to hold the Government to account on this. Domestic violence victims have suffered enough, and we won't rest until this fee is scrapped.
Will you help?
Help us keep up the momentum. Will you send a link to our petition to 10 of your friends? I'd really appreciate your help. Let me know when you've shared it by tweeting me @tom_watson, use the hashtag #scrapthefee.