Family justice and legal aid

Legal proceedings are essential for victim-survivors to leave abusive partners and rebuild their lives independently.  

However, Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) has seen that the family court is an arena where economic abuse can be facilitated and perpetuated. 

This can happen in a variety of ways. 

  • Lack of access to legal aid: This can leave victim-survivors struggling to represent themselves during legal proceedings as litigants in person. Many others get into large amounts of debt to fund legal costs.  
  • Drawn out legal proceedings: Perpetrators often bring repeated and unnecessary applications as a means of exerting (further) control and depleting victim-survivors’ resources.  
  • Unfair financial settlements: Perpetrators often fail to disclose assets in proceedings so that victim-survivors are left with financial settlements that unfairly disadvantage them.   
“The perpetrator has used the court system to inflict economic abuse through his numerous court applications. This abuse should be identified and eliminated.”

See the timeline below for how we have engaged with policy around the family justice system, including legal aid.  

“Horrendous that I can’t access [legal aid] when I am at my most vulnerable as my assets were tied up in a house that we were in court over.”