Domestic Homicide Review

Press Release - 1st April 2014

Domestic Homicide Review

The findings of an independent domestic homicide review into the death of a 42-year-old woman have been published by Safe Newcastle.

 The woman “Jane” was stabbed to death on 25th February 2012 by her partner Ian Hope at an address in Lemington, Newcastle.

 The review was commissioned by Safe Newcastle in line with Home Office guidance to identify what can be learned from the circumstances of her death.

 Chair of Safe Newcastle Cllr Linda Hobson, who commissioned the report, said: “We would like to express our deep sorrow and regret that a woman should die in such horrific circumstances. We want to take this opportunity to offer our condolences to her family.

 “The commissioning of this independent review which examines in detail the circumstances of this case is a mark of our determination to learn and prevent future homicides from occurring. It also underlines the seriousness of Newcastle’s commitment in tackling domestic violence.

 “The 58 page review is published today for all to consider the events leading up to Jane’s violent death at the hands of her partner. It makes challenging and deeply upsetting reading.

 “It is the review’s conclusion that although Jane received good support from Newcastle’s Woman’s Aid and other agencies, she felt unable to leave her abusive relationship.

 “The Safe Newcastle partnership fully accepts both the findings and recommendations of the review, and as a result of this difficult process the partnership has strengthened considerably.

 “We are committed to acting upon the recommendations in this report and the early lessons learnt have already been implemented.

 “I want to take this opportunity to appeal to all victims of abuse, their family or friends and the wider community. Please tell someone about the abuse – the police, a support agency,  a GP. We will all do our best to support you.”

 In April 2011, the Government implemented section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. This means that following a domestic homicide, local areas are expected to undertake a multi-agency review to identify lessons that can be learned to prevent future homicides and violence.

 To access the full report and a shorter executive summary visit the Safe Newcastle website: http://www.safenewcastle.org.uk/

The report’s author, retired police Superintendent Brian Boxall said: “As with all domestic homicides this was a very tragic case and my condolences go out to the members of the victim’s family.

 “All agencies undertook the task with an openness and willingness to learn, which enabled me to produce an informed comprehensive review.

 “The review evidenced the difficulties faced by victims of domestic abuse. It highlighted the essential role, in supporting victims, not only of the statutory and voluntary agencies, including the criminal justice process, but also of friends, work colleagues and employers.

 “By working together to provide focussed, co-ordinated support, agencies will enhance the chances of victims of abuse feeling safe, able to make supported and informed decisions, including separation from, and, or possible prosecution of their abusers.

 “Unfortunately despite being subject to continued abuse and violence, which brought her in contact with a number of local services, the victim never felt able, or confident enough, to permanently leave the abusive relationship, making the tragic outcome difficult to avoid.

 “This review has identified some of the reasons why, despite the support she was offered by a number of agencies, the victim still felt unable to make those decisions. It sets out lessons that need to be learnt to avoid some of these barriers in the future.”