call on Jeremy Hunt to "scrap the fee" for domestic violence doctor's
MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner, Jane
Kennedy, has joined Police and crime commissioners across the country calling on
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to scrap the fee charged to domestic abuse
victims seeking legal aid.
Due to recent legislation changes, domestic abuse victims now have to apply for
legal aid. However to qualify for support they need to provide specific evidence
to prove that they have been subjected to such abuse. 1 of the accepted forms
of evidence is a letter from a GP; a letter that some GP's are charging fees to
The concerns raised by Deputy Labour Leader Tom Watson's "scrap the fee"
campaign have been echoed by Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime
Commissioner Tony Lloyd who called on the support of his fellow PCC's to demand a
fair process for abuse victims.
Tony said:- "That victims of domestic abuse are even being asked to prove
they are victims before they can access legal aid is insulting, insensitive and
It should not be a privilege for victims of domestic abuse to gain legal aid.
There should be no further burden on victims to chase a letter to verify their
claim. The government needs to scrap this fee by bringing the service under NHS
funding or better still; scrap the need for the letter entirely."
Deputy Labour Leader Tom Watson 1st raised this issue following a visit to a
Wythenshawe Safe Spots, a support centre for victims and survivors of domestic
abuse. Tom said:- "I'm delighted that Police and Crime Commissioners
across the country have backed my scrap the fee campaign; I learned about the
GP fee when I visited a centre for victims of domestic abuse, in Wythenshawe. I
couldn't believe it.
People suffering domestic abuse are already incredibly vulnerable. We should be
taking action to help them, not demanding payment for a letter they need to
Nearly ½ of women take no action as a result of not being able to apply for
legal aid. That's appalling. Help for victims of domestic violence should never
come at a price. I have requested an urgent meeting with Ministers to put an end
to this practice. The Government should scrap this unfair, immoral fee now. It
has to stop."
16 PCCs, including Jane Kennedy, have added their name to the letter to Jeremy
Hunt, and Justice Secretary Liz Truss is also being urged to scrap the need for
the letter all together.
Jane said:- "Victims of domestic abuse should not be required to pay in
order to get justice. They are often financially controlled by their abuser and
this policy causes further pain and risk. The Government should remove the need
for a GP's letter in order to get legal aid. We should believe vulnerable
victims and support them, not cause further risk to them, which this policy
Not all GP's apply these charges, and the amounts being charged vary. But to
ensure that victims receive a consistent, equitable, and fair service across the
UK, the campaign is calling for the service to be provided under the NHS so the
fees are abolished.
Merseyside Police Chief set to visit Guide Dogs Liverpool
ON Monday, 13 February 2017, Chief
Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke is set to visit Guide Dogs,
Liverpool, to highlight the importance of Merseyside Police's ongoing support
following a number of dog attacks on guide dogs. Both organisations have worked
in partnership since attacks on assistance dogs were recognised as a crime in
changes to legislation, on 13 March 2014. Under the new law, if your dog attacks
a guide, or any assistance dog, you can now face up to a maximum sentence of 3
years in prison. Lynette Proctor, Guide Dogs Community Engagement Officer
explains:- "People often question why an attack on a guide dog is now seen
as a criminal offence, unlike other dog on dog attacks. If a guide dog is unable
to work as a result of an attack, whether temporarily or permanently, it doesn't
just have an impact on the dog, but also robs their blind or partially sighted
owner of their independence, often meaning they are unable to leave their own
home. Even what might be perceived as a minor attack can have devastating and
long term consequences."
In recent years the number of reported dog attacks on guide dogs has grown
rapidly, with the latest research by Guide Dogs showing that, on average, ten
guide dogs are attacked each month across the UK. As a result, Guide Dogs
and Merseyside Police have worked together to put in place a Service Level
Agreement to ensure that any guide dog owner within Merseyside who becomes the
victim of an attack receives the best possible care available. This includes
agreement to assign a named and contactable Officer to the owner's case and also
recording them as vulnerable, enabling tailored support for their specific
Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke:- "We are proud to work
alongside Guide Dogs are ensuring that prosecutions for attacks on any
assistance dogs are fully supported through the courts. Our Service Level
Agreement shows this commitment in providing the highest standards of victim
care throughout any investigation. It is an honour to be invited along to see
the work that goes on day to day to people who rely on guide dogs for their
During his visit Chief Constable Cooke will meet with local guide dog owners who
have been victims of a dog attack, as well as having the opportunity to take
part in a blind fold walk with a trainee guide dog.
To find out more about the impact of dog
attacks on guide dogs visit:-
UK's leading publisher of
romantic fiction returns to roots, taking #RomanceOnTheRoad for Valentine's Day
RUNNING until 20 February 2017, across
more than 70 mobile libraries, the #RomanceOnTheRoad campaign celebrates the
mobile libraries that make the joys of reading available to those unable to
reach a library.
Mobile libraries participating in the Valentine's campaign will create
eye catching Mills and Boon displays, which will be shared on social media using
the hashtag #RomanceOnTheRoad, with the most creative winning books and
chocolate hampers. Five mobile libraries have been specially selected to be the
Fabulous Five, decked out, with #RomanceOnTheRoad themed vehicle stickers, a sash
for their driver and exclusive Valentine parcels for their valued readers.
Mills and Boon sells more than 200 million novels a year around the globe, but its
success is rooted in the mobile library where Charles Boon worked before
co-founding Mills and Boon in 1908. Working with the mobile library, Boon learnt
what his market wanted and developed a brand that was not only awarded special
status in WW2 for its morale boosting benefits, but has continued to be loved
the world over today. From the start Mills & Boon recognised the cultural
importance of libraries and are delighted to demonstrate their support,
extending the success of 2016's #LoveAtTheLibrary campaign, to deliver the
love of reading to everyone, particularly those who don't have access to a
The campaign features four books from the most popular Mills and Boon genres to
offer something for everyone; from passions of the past to romance in
intoxicating locations; and to deliver love right to their door in time for
Valentine's Day. Books featured include:- Vows They Can't Escape by Heidi Rice,
Miss Bradshaw's Bought Betrothal by Virginia Heath, A Forever Family for the
Army Doc by Meredith Webber and Winning the Nanny's Heart by Shirley Jump.
Lisa Milton, Executive Publisher at Mills & Boon says:- "We're really
excited to be working with The Reading Agency once again, particularly on this
campaign to recognise and reward the work of mobile libraries. Decades ago,
Mills & Boon used to advertise libraries in their end pages so it's fantastic to
be part of a modern and interactive way to continue spreading the word about the
great work libraries do. Growing up I visited my mobile library every week on
Friday after school, even now I can remember climbing up the steep steps into
the van, the joy I felt when the librarian handed me a book I'd ordered, that
unique sound of the book stamp as the book became yours. In the mobile library,
I found romance, and I will always cherish that gift."
Karen Brodie, Head of Adult Reading and Publisher Relations at The Reading
Agency, comments further:- "A partnership like this with Mills & Boon and
public libraries is so important to help us engage more people in reading.
Reading for pleasure has enormous benefits for our wellbeing and, after the
success of last year's #LoveAtTheLibrary campaign with Mills and Boon, we're
very excited to go on the road with mobile libraries this year to reach even
more people, and inspire a love of reading."
Did you see an collision with a motorbike and a Tipper van in Formby?
MERSEYSIDE Police have responded to a
road traffic collision (RTC) involving an off road bike, in Formby, on
Wednesday, 1 February 2017. We are told that a scrambler bike had been witnessed
in collision with a Ford Transit Tipper van, on Paradise Lane, at around 4pm. It
was initially reported that the rider of the bike was injured in the collision
and was driven off in a small silver Ford Fiesta, although nobody attended
Hospital with injuries. The driver of the van was not injured and there was no
serious damage to the vehicle. The Officers who attended the location have
recovered a suspected stolen orange, white and black KTM bike.
Sefton Local Policing Inspector Andy Bragg said:- "We are pleased to have
removed another suspected stolen bike from the streets and I would like to thank
the community for providing vital information. If you witnessed this incident,
know who was using this bike and have any other information about the illegal
and anti social use of bikes, please contact us and we can continue to take
positive action. Luckily on this occasion, it appears that nobody was seriously
injured, but in recent months, we have seen how dangerous such bikes can be, for
pedestrians, other road users and the riders themselves. Merseyside Police is
absolutely committed to taking any action which makes our roads safer."
Anyone with information on where motorbikes are being stored or used is urged to
call:- 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on:- 0800 555 111.