Image Credits : Tina – Mixed Harmony Productions
WAITS was very pleased to Host a visit of The Equalities Committee a new select committee. It was appointed by the House of Commons in June 2015 to hold the Government to account for performance on equalities (age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation) issues.
This is a very broad remit and the Committee so the committee decided to hold a consultation in early October to inform its programme. As part of this exercise it will be visiting Oldham, Manchester and Birmingham to hear from local organisations and service users.
MP’s in attendance were
Maria Miller MP | Maria Caulfield MP | Jo Churchill MP | Angela Crawley MP
Mims Davies MP | Ben Howlett MP | Jess Phillips MP | Helena Ali (staff)
Four service users from WAITS shred their experiences in obtaining Legal Aid which despite Domestic Abuse being ring fenced in the cut’s to legal. The legal Aid panel and solicitors are not accepting emotional abuse, mental abuse and finical abuse as evidence of Domestic Abuse. Women are being faced with mounting legal costs and debt in obtaining injunctions or fighting child custody cases because of this.
Another service user shared her experience of an officer being rude and unsympathetic. When she sought help at a police station.
WAITS Staff provided evidence on the gaps in services put in place to protect women and the impact it was having on our services users.
The MP’s were amazed how the issues raised by WAITS were impacting women at large and thanked WAITS service users for sharing their personal stories.
“In my experience supporting service users to tell their stories is the best way to influence policy makers, who I am sure will remember the harrowing stories they have heard today and through their consultations around the UK when setting their priorities”. WAITS CEO
All the suggestions received will be discussed by the Committee in mid-October The Committee’s next inquiry will be announced shortly after the visits.