Slaughter and May unites with six other law firms to launch Domestic Abuse Response Alliance
DARA is an alliance of seven leading law firms who will provide pro bono legal advice and representation to survivors of domestic abuse in need of protective injunctions.
Slaughter and May announces the launch of the Domestic Abuse Response Alliance (DARA). DARA is an alliance of seven leading law firms who will provide pro bono legal advice and representation to survivors of domestic abuse in need of protective injunctions. In addition to Slaughter and May, the founding member firms are Travers Smith, Debevoise & Plimpton, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Hogan Lovells, Latham & Watkins and Reed Smith.
In England and Wales, one in four women experience domestic abuse during their lifetime. Every week two women in the UK are killed by a current or former partner and three die by suicide due to domestic abuse.
DARA will represent individuals who are not eligible for legal aid but who cannot afford to pay for private representation, providing them with help, support and representation from the outset to the conclusion of the case.
DARA has been founded by Sam Cottman, Director of Pro Bono at Travers Smith, who has been providing legal support to survivors of domestic abuse for over a decade
DARA will be one of LawWorks' secondary specialisation projects and will take referrals from the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV).
DARA will be supervised by leading specialist family law firm, Beck Fitzgerald, under the guidance of Jenny Beck QC (Hon). Jenny is the co-founder of Beck Fitzgerald and an award-winning family lawyer committed to accessible justice and the rights of the individual. She is a highly regarded specialist in domestic abuse law.
Partner Gayathri Kamalanathan said, “The work that DARA will do is immensely important in increasing access to legal representation for survivors of domestic abuse. Through our participation in the Alliance we hope to help make a difference to the lives of survivors who could otherwise be without legal protection.”
Sam Cottman, Director of Pro Bono at Travers Smith and Founder of DARA said, "For so many survivors of domestic abuse, legal protection is out of reach. That may be due to a lack of funding, an overly complex legal system or, often, the terrifying prospect of facing their abuser in court. Many of these individuals have no choice but to return to life-threatening relationships.
I believe DARA is the largest pro bono advocacy service for survivors of domestic abuse ever assembled. I am delighted to see it go live and look forward to driving its growth over the years to come."
Jenny Beck QC (Hon), Founder of Beck Fitzgerald and DARA board member said, “Nobody should live in fear of abuse yet cuts to legal aid have made accessing legal protection orders impossible for many. The solution needs to be a properly funded education, prevention and protection system but we are some considerable way from that. DARA provides an invaluable resource to help survivors who would otherwise be at huge risk."
Alison Lamb, Chief Executive of RCJ Advice said, “Our national domestic abuse legal advice service, FLOWS (Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors) provides an invaluable service with our CourtNav FL401 helping to secure protection orders for 10,000 women per year and linking survivors with domestic abuse legal aid providers across England & Wales. Many women find themselves ineligible for legal aid but unable to afford private representation. FLOWS provides help and support to these women, and representation in some cases, and we welcome the commitment DARA makes to providing representation for survivors, as it is much needed."
For more information: www.daraproject.org
LawWorks is a charity that promotes, supports and facilitates pro bono legal services that extend access to the law for individuals and communities in need and the organisations that assist them: www.lawworks.org.uk