Women’s Aid responds to findings from the IOPC investigation into Sussex Police failings in Shana Grice case
Thursday 11th April 2019
Women’s Aid responds to findings from the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s (IOPC) investigation into Sussex Police’s failings in how they handled the case of Shana Grice who was murdered by her abusive ex-partner after she had reported him to the police for stalking her. Read the IOPC’s report and recommendations online here.
Nicki Norman, Acting Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“It is totally unacceptable that Sussex Police punished Shana Grice by fining her for wasting police time when she reported her abusive ex-partner for stalking her. After their failure to take her report seriously, she was murdered by her abuser. Sussex Police treated Shana like the criminal rather than giving her the protection she desperately needed.
“When police forces don’t take women who report their controlling and abusive partners or ex-partners to them seriously, they are unwittingly colluding with the perpetrator. Abusers often tell the victim that she will not be believed if she speaks out about the abuse, silencing her and preventing her from getting help she needs to escape. This dangerous response will destroy any trust the victim may have in the police and will hand more power to the perpetrator.
“While we welcome the decision to ensure that the three police officers who failed Shana face disciplinary action, this does not go far enough. We need a complete overhaul of the current “risk-led” approach to tackling domestic abuse. Focusing resources on so-called “high risk” cases means that some women haven’t been able to get the support they desperately need and that opportunities to help women escape domestic abuse earlier have been lost.
“That’s why we at Women’s Aid have pioneered our Change That Last approach which is placing the survivor and her needs at the heart of the response to domestic abuse. Our approach recognises the strengths of survivors: they are experts in their own lives and know all too well the danger posed by their abuser and what they need to be able to escape the abuse. We want to work with police leaders to help police forces take this needs-led approach to tackling domestic abuse to ensure that every survivor gets the right response when she reports controlling and abusive behaviour to the police. Only by taking every survivors’ concerns seriously and ensuring that she is protected and supported every step of the way, can we prevent further lives from being taken and ensure that every survivor can get the support she needs to live free from fear and abuse.”
If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling and abusive, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.
For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]