26th September 2013
We have sent the following email to all Lib Dem MPs
Dear Lib Dem MP,
URGENT: Legal Aid – child protection implications
Please act to safeguard vulnerable children and young people
Please find attached a briefing by JustRights explaining the horrendous implications for child protection of the Justice Secretary’s current legal aid plans.
We trust you will agree that this is a very serious matter that deserves your attention.
Action you can take
Argue for a pause to enable:
· full scrutiny of the proposals by the Joint Committee on Human Rights
· assessment of the impact of the changes brought in by LASPO in April
· a thorough age impact assessment
· consideration of substantial exemptions for children and young people at risk of harm
· Highly vulnerable children and young people at risk of abuse and exploitation (victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse; homeless and mentally ill young people, care leavers etc.) will be disproportionately affected by the Justice Secretary’s current legal aid plans.
· Being unable to access legal support will leave these already vulnerable young people open to further abuse, exploitation and harm.
· LASPO has already had a highly detrimental impact on this most vulnerable of groups.
· Opinion polling consistently shows that the public wants the protection of children to be the number one priority for Government spending on the legal aid system.
· Point 1a of the current Lib Dem youth policy is to improve access to legal advice and representation for young people.
· The Lib Dem party conference passed an emergency motion calling on the Justice Secretary’s Transforming Legal Aid proposals “to be stayed pending thorough consultation and scrutiny”.
The changes can be stopped – but only if Lib Dem MPs demand a pause, as called for by Conference
Read briefing Legal Aid - child protection implications