Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is delighted to announce 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.
The founding member firms are Travers Smith, Debevoise & Plimpton, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Hogan Lovells, Latham & Watkins, Reed Smith, and Slaughter and May
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 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). Ms/ Beck 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.
Samantha Rowe, Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, comments: “There is an obvious gap in the provision of legal advice to survivors of domestic abuse. Legal assistance is effectively out of reach for far too many survivors facing these issues. Our hope is that DARA can start to help plug that gap. It is a wonderful example of collaborative working between major law firms and the wider pro bono and access to justice community, and we are proud to be a part of it.”
Jenny Beck QC (Hon), Founder of Beck Fitzgerald and DARA board member, comments: “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, comments: “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