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Justice policy research

Since legal aid was cut in 2013, many people who need to access justice will have to do so without specialist support. We know in practice that this simply doesn’t work for everyone. Our report on Responsive Justice found that though half of people will use the justice system at some point in their lives, less than half believe they would get a fair outcome if they went to court alone.

We see the how this anxiety plays out. Our 2015 research found victims of domestic abuse struggle to provide the evidence required for access legal aid and are forced to face their perpetrator in court alone, or walk away from justice. Our research with people using family courts alone found that it led to negative impacts on their health, mental health and finances.

We also push for witnesses to be better treated by police and courts. Whether it’s poor police treatment, cases dropped without any warning, sharing a waiting room with a perpetrator, or finding out an assailant has been released by seeing them in your community - those who are victims and witnesses of crime are sometimes undermined, kept in the dark, or even rendered more unsafe by their interactions with authorities. We help 180,000 witness and victims a year, and we want to make sure that those who go to court having done nothing wrong are consistently treated better.