Dundee Law Centre has said the need for advice has grown substantially over the past year
Demand for legal advice and services from some of the most vulnerable people in Dundee has grown dramatically over the past year, Dundee’s legal charity has said.
However, victims of domestic abuse, families on low incomes or benefits and elderly people in care homes have increasingly struggled to access the justice system due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Dundee Law Centre.
Formerly the Dundee North Law Centre, the charity has relaunched this week to cover the whole of the city and its immediate surroundings.
This is in response to the growing demand for services during the pandemic, where the most vulnerable in the community have faced locked offices, restricted movement and have struggled to adapt to new technological demands from courts and tribunals.
Recent figures show that domestic abuse has risen by 10% over the past year, however the centre says many victims struggle to adequately access the justice system.
As a result, the team decided to use the lockdown to tackle the problem head on, expanding its operations, revamping its website and providing new social media platforms to match their new outlook and ambitions.
Principal Solicitor Joyce Horsman, who succeeded the charity’s founding lawyer Peter Kinghorn last year, explained: “The Dundee North Law Centre has helped hundreds of Dundee citizens over the last 30 years and there have been many challenges and changes during that time.
“Going forward with our new name, it is important that we reach as many people as possible and the new website will help us to do that.
“We encourage people to have a look at our new site and use it to get in touch with us.
“The ongoing pandemic has shown us just how important it is to find new ways of connecting with our clients and people in need and I am proud to bring the Dundee Law Centre up to date with the new website and all it has to offer.”
Horsman added: “In all of this change, we have not forgotten the most vulnerable and under prevailing covid conditions we will strive, at our best, to ensure no one is denied access to justice. If we can, we will deliver fairness and justice for Dundee.”
Chair Marjory Stewart says these tools will allow members of the public to access their services more easily whilst reflecting the centre’s commitment to the most vulnerable people in a new, community-based, covid compliant, secure and responsive manner, meeting local needs.
“Whilst the impact of Covid-19 has been challenging, it has also given us the opportunity to invest in upgrading our systems and review and enhance our delivery and outreach model,” Marjory said.
“By adapting our approach, we have been able to continue to deliver legal and advice services to vulnerable people.
“We have also updated our branding and developed a new modern website which links to our social media presence and will provide an important new platform for our clients and partners to keep abreast of our services and communicate with us particularly when our offices are closed.
“Whilst we are looking forward to welcoming back clients to face-to-face meetings, we are also looking to the future and providing digital access to clients so that we can continue to provide quality legal advice and support when and where it is most needed.”