Pro bono.

Irwin Mitchell is offering free advice to victims of domestic abuse, as rates of the crime increase during the U.K. coronavirus lockdown.

U.K. domestic violence charity Refuge reported a 700% increase in traffic to its helpline in one day earlier this month.

Irwin Mitchell has set up a free service providing legal advice and support to people during the duration of the coronavirus crisis. The team offering advice comprises lawyers from the firm’s family law practice, as well as from the personal injury practice, according to a statement by the firm.

Toby Hales, a family law partner at Irwin Mitchell said in a statement: “For victims, there is often little knowledge of where to turn. If the situation falls short of one in which the police are prepared to become actively involved, the only way for such a situation to be resolved is through family courts.

“For those who qualify financially, fortunately legal aid remains available to provide access to justice, but for those who do not the legal system can be an expensive and bewildering process.”

He added that the lawyers involved in this pro bono project will assess situations and advise the sufferers as to whether police should be involved or whether the matter can be resolved by family lawyers, as well as offer support on accessing legal aid and protection from courts in cases involving children.

Other firms in the U.K. have been stepping up their pro bono efforts as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including Travers Smith, Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Ashurst and Herbert Smith Freehills.

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