Hogan Lovells joins the Domestic Abuse Response Alliance (DARA)

DARA is an alliance of seven leading law firms who will provide pro bono legal advice and representation to survivors of domestic abuse in need of protective injunctions. The initiative is led by Travers Smith and other member firms include Debevoise & Plimpton, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Latham & Watkins, Reed Smith, Slaughter and May.

In England and Wales, one in four women experience domestic abuse during their lifetime. Every week two women in the UK are killed by a current or former partner and three die by suicide due to domestic abuse.

DARA will represent individuals who are not eligible for legal aid but who cannot afford to pay for private representation, providing them with help, support and representation from the outset to the conclusion of the case.

DARA will be one of LawWorks' secondary specialisation projects and will take referrals from the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV).

DARA will be supervised by leading specialist family law firm, Beck Fitzgerald, under the guidance of Jenny Beck QC (Hon). Jenny is the co-founder of Beck Fitzgerald and an award-winning family lawyer committed to accessible justice and the rights of the individual. She is a highly regarded specialist in domestic abuse law.

Sam Cottman, Founder of DARA and Director of Pro Bono at Travers Smith, said: "For so many survivors of domestic abuse, legal protection is out of reach. That may be due to a lack of funding, an overly complex legal system or, often, the terrifying prospect of facing their abuser in court. Many of these individuals have no choice but to return to life-threatening relationships.

“I believe DARA is the largest pro bono advocacy service for survivors of domestic abuse ever assembled. I am delighted to see it go live and look forward to driving its growth over the years to come."

At Hogan Lovells, the initiative will be led by Hogan Lovells partners Jo Robinson and Michael Roberts. Jo Robinson, partner at Hogan Lovells, commented: “Legal representation should not be limited to a privileged few and DARA will help bridge the gap for domestic abuse survivors at such a critical time emerging from the global pandemic. The launch of DARA will enable us to advocate for domestic abuse survivors to obtain legal protection that is otherwise inaccessible.”

Last year, Hogan Lovells was separately appointed as a "Beacon" by the Employers' Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA), building on its longstanding membership of EIDA and furthering the firm's commitment to tackling domestic abuse. Joining DARA will allow the firm to scale its existing practice of assisting pro bono on emergency domestic abuse injunctions, under the guidance of Beck Fitzgerald.

For more information please visit www.daraproject.org.

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