Back in 2016 Wythenshawe Safespots, alongside Tom Watson MP and Mike Kane MP, kick started the Scrap the Fee Campaign. Women up and down the country who had been victims of abuse were being charged by their GP for a letter as proof of this in order for them to access legal aid so that they could be supported and represented in the court process.
Safespots raised this issue with Mike and Tom and were supported to launch a national campaign to Scrap The Fee. This campaign received the support of thousands via an online petition. The government acknowledged the campaign and made changes so that victims could get the letter from more sources including domestic abuse organisations and housing providers.
Safespots believed this still wasn’t enough. They continued to campaign. Earlier this year as part of the domestic abuse bill, Scrap The Fee was considered. The campaign received support through Parliament and is now set to be legislated for as part of the Domestic Abuse Bill. This means that no GP across England or Wales will be able to charge women for that letter.
Mike Kane MP says:
“I would like to congratulate the women of Safespots for their commitment to this campaign and for their commitment to the safety of women in Wythenshawe and Sale East. Victims of abuse should never be charged for a piece of paper to prove they have been affected by this terrible scourge upon women. I hope the removal of this barrier will make it easier for women to access to legal representation and justice. I am incredibly proud to have this survivor led service based in my constituency”
Sarah Judge from Safespots says:
“I am delighted that this has now been brought into law. No woman should ever be faced with the decision of whether to feed their family or keep their family safe. I want to say a big thank you to Lord Kennedy for championing this cause. It is amazing that a small grass roots organisation from Wythenshawe has stepped up and changed the law.”
Wythenshawe Safespots was established in 2015. It is a community led domestic abuse service based in Wythenshawe Town Centre offering holistic support, advice and guidance to women who have experienced abuse.
If you or somebody you know needs help you can get in touch on 07873889637 or email email@example.com. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday 9.30 – 4.30.