PILC and others have written to the Secretary of State for Housing to demand urgent action is taken for survivors of domestic violence during Covid-19
In light of the current Covid-19 outbreak, the Public Interest Law Centre and Solace Women’s Aid, along with many other specialist VAWG organisations, charities, pressure groups and lawyers, have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to demand that urgent action is taken for survivors of domestic violence.
The current outbreak is having a disproportionate impact on survivors of domestic violence who are unable to leave violent homes. We are demanding that separate funding be allocated to local authorities to enable them to adequately house survivors of domestic abuse in hotels or other safe and suitable accommodation.
In the letter we highlight that ‘lockdown’ measures will cause rates of violence and abuse to increase. The impact will disproportionately fall on women due to the disproportionate number of victims of domestic violence that are women. If the government fails to increase funding available for safe accommodation for domestic abuse survivors, it will not be able to mitigate the disproportionate impact of ‘lockdown’ on women.
Despite assurances by the government that it will deliver safe accommodation in cases of domestic abuse and protect the most vulnerable in society from the impact of Covid-19, adequate measures have not been taken on behalf of domestic abuse survivors.
We demand a separate emergency fund for local authorities to ensure they are able to adequately house survivors of domestic abuse in hotels or other safe and suitable accommodation, and to publish clear information to make survivors aware of the additional support. This is paramount if the government is going to effectively protect survivors of domestic abuse during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The letter can be read and downloaded below.
PILC has joined 255 other organisations in signing a joint letter to the Greek government and the EU opposing the the suspension of the right to seek asylum for all people entering Greece. We are joining the call for Greece to withdraw its illegal and unconstitutional Emergency Legislative Decree and immediately stop returning people to states where their lives and freedom are at risk. As the letter states, EU member states must also re-establish mechanisms for the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers from Greece to other EU countries.
The joint letter can be read in full here.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic PILC staff will be working remotely until further notice.
We are still answering our main phone line and EEA advice line. If you can’t get through, please leave a message with your contact details and someone will call you back within 24 hours.
Staff have access to their e-mails. Clients can contact their solicitor or caseworker by phone or email.
If you are sending us something urgent by post, please email or call us so we can keep an eye out for it.
We will provide further updates soon on how we are working during the pandemic.
Dynamic paralegal required!
The Public Interest Law Centre specialises in public law, actions against public authorities and public inquiries. We act for individuals and campaign groups who have been treated unlawfully by public bodies. We also support communities, activists and social movements to use the law as a tool for social action. We are based in London, with clients citywide as well as in the South East and nationally.
Our solicitors, caseworkers & researchers meet with individuals and community groups to explore how legal action could help them challenge injustice and defend their social and human rights. We work with campaigners to develop strategic litigation for social change. Our current caseload reflects our interest in opposing austerity, the hostile environment, state surveillance & violence against women.
An exciting opportunity has arisen as we aim to expand. We are recruiting for the post of paralegal to assist our solicitors in their diverse strategic litigation.
We ask that prospective applicants review the job description and person specification below and provide us with the following as attachments:
1. A covering letter of no more than three pages addressing all the points outlined in the job description; and
2. An up-to-date CV.
We especially encourage applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates and/or those with lived experience of the social-justice issues we work on.
Applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
Thirty years ago the struggle against the hated poll tax was reaching its peak. It was the biggest civil-disobedience campaign of the twentieth century.
In a normal year in the 1980s the number of cases (summonses) brought before the magistrates’ courts of England and Wales was about two million. Between April 1990 and September 1993 the number of cases of unwillingness, or inability, to pay the poll tax totalled an additional (and staggering!) 25 million.
It is estimated that up to 14 million people were involved in resisting the poll tax, with many receiving multiple summonses. That’s just under one-third of the entire adult population. The sheer volume of cases overwhelmed the legal system and the enforcement of the poll tax was made impossible. What had once been described as Margaret Thatcher’s ‘flagship’ policy was sunk.
A new book, Couldn’t Pay, Wouldn’t Pay, Didn’t Pay, edited by Eric Segal, secretary of the South East Kent Trade Union Council, outlines the struggle against the poll tax in Kent. Eric was an organiser of the anti-poll tax struggle in Kent and was sent to prison as a result of his refusal to pay.
Our Paul Heron contributed a chapter to this book. His chapter, entitled How Labour councillors fails us and why they shouldn’t, makes links between the poll tax struggle and the contemporary political situation. Heron highlights the need for Labour councils to set a no-cuts needs budget and stop passing on cuts to working-class communities.
Copies of Couldn’t Pay, Wouldn’t Pay, Didn’t Pay can be ordered by e-mailing email@example.com
High Court rules that student finance regulations discriminate against domestic violence survivors
The High Court has today ruled that a survivor of domestic violence was unlawfully refused a student loan and that the current student finance regulations discriminate against victims of domestic violence.
Our client’s ex-partner had withheld her immigration documents. This led to her spousal visa not being renewed in time. Our client ended up being unlawfully in the UK for nearly a year through no fault of her own.
She was later granted indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence. But the gap in ‘lawful residency’ caused by her ex-partner’s abuse led to her being precluded by the current education regulations from obtaining a student loan
Without student funding, she incurred significant debt with her university and was forced to withdraw from her studies.
As a result of the case, brought by Helen Mowatt of PILC with Dan Squires of Matrix Chambers acting as counsel, the student finance regulations have been amended. A student who has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a victim of domestic abuse is now eligible to receive a student loan straight away. The new rules are due to come into force on 13 February 2020.
This case is an important victory for migrant women who experience domestic violence. A thick web of unfair immigration and other regulations help keep survivors trapped in abusive relationships. Access to student finance will make it easier for women to leave and rebuild their lives independently.
The full judgment can be read here.