The Verdict of Helen’s Trial: Our Statement
Sunday 11th September 2016
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“We speak for the whole nation when we say that we are delighted by today’s verdict – what a sheer, joyous relief. Well done, Helen – Women’s Aid has been rooting for you, and we’re proud to have been a part of the storytelling.
“We wish we could say that all survivors have an experience like Helen: that their judge and jury recognise why they were driven to attack. There is an acute failure throughout the criminal justice system to understand the dynamics of domestic abuse – especially coercive control.
“More specialist training on domestic abuse is needed for all who work in both the criminal courts and the family courts – especially judges. Statistics show that up to 80% of women offenders are domestic abuse survivors. We also know that it is rare for women to be repeat perpetrators of violence against men, and that when they attack it is very often out of fear for their own life, or that of their child. Helen was forced into this brutal position by Rob – but thankfully, the Borchester judge and jury saw Helen’s actions for what we all know they were – the actions of a woman in fear of her life and fearful for her child.
“We don’t know what will be next for Helen – but we know that she will need support from a specialist domestic abuse service, to help her and her children to rebuild and recover. She is free – but the invisible prison of domestic abuse will stay with her for a long time. Helen, Women’s Aid is here for you. We stand in solidarity with you – and all survivors of domestic abuse.”