In response to the government's concession for legal aid affecting children, Enver Solomon, Director of Policy said,
'These limited concessions fall well short as thousands of children will still be left without legal aid exposed to potential danger and exploitation.
'According to the government's own calculations, at least 4,000 children will no longer get legal aid or be protected with exceptional funding. They will be unable to get legal advice in their own right to help with their welfare, education, housing or immigration cases and be left to go to court alone. This includes many very vulnerable children such as victims of trafficking, who don’t have parents or carers for support. They could be forced into exploitative situations in order to raise funds to pay for legal fees. To protect such cases and all those for children would cost only £10 million which is a fraction of the legal aid bill.
'We urge the government to recognise that children are fundamentally different to adults and are unable to navigate a complex legal system on their own. Leaving them without legal aid would deny them access to justice.'
For more information please contact The Children's Society Media Office on 020 7841 4422 07810 796 508 or email the team via firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill - House of Lords - January 2012