Coventry Haven Women's Aid work in partnership with local solicitors and the Law Centre in Coventry to provide access to legal advice.
Every Thursday we hold a legal surgery where a qualified solicitor is available to give free initial legal advice on matters relating to Family Law and Domestic Violence and Abuse.
We work with the Law Centre in Coventry to provide legal advice on Immigration Matters, Family Law, Housing, Welfare rights and Debt.
The solicitor can then take your case forward.
Issues dealt with include:
Divorce and related financial and property issues
Children’s Residency (often called custody)
Child Contact (where the party not living with the child seeks access through the courts)
Protective Orders, such as an order not to hurt you or go near you, or an order to leave and stay away from the family home. You can also apply for a Prohibited Steps Order, if you are worried that the perpetrator might abduct the children or has threatened to do so
Children’s Act matters in case Social Services are involved and you are worried that the children may be removed from your care
Immigration matters, where you are not sure of your status or have a problem with it
Welfare Rights Law, where you may have a benefits problem
If you would like to make an appointment to see a solicitor, speak to your support worker or call us. If your legal issue falls outside the scope of the legal surgery, we will find the right advice agency for you.
Visual Evidence for Victims (VEV)
If you have been assaulted but do not want to tell the police, we can keep a photographic record of any injuries for you, in case you ever need evidence of the abuse you have experienced. This service helps you to deal with things at your own pace.
We are trained and certificated to take a brief statement from you and to take photographs of any bruises or marks made by your partner. These documents are your property but they are kept by us in a secure locked cabinet for up to six years. We cannot release these documents without your consent.
You might decide to leave the relationship at a later date and have to prove that your partner was abusive to you in a Child Contact or Residency Court hearing. Or you might report an incident to the police at a later date. Records of earlier incidents can help the police in succeeding with a prosecution.
Some of the women who have used this service have not so far asked to use them. Other women have more than one record held by us. Many women have come back to us and the record has been passed on to the appropriate court, and in all cases this has helped get them and their children the right protection from further abuse.
We always advise women that they should only tell someone who they completely trust about any records we have, because the exception to our promise of confidentiality is when we are ordered by a court to disclose information. We would always let a woman know if this happens.
If you want to use this service, call us on 02476 444077 to make an urgent appointment.