Public inquiry into police and state agency response to domestic violence

To: Home Secretary, Theresa May

Public inquiry into police and state agency response to domestic violence
of 25,000 signatures
Campaign created by Maria's family and Refuge Icon-email

The national domestic violence charity Refuge, together with families of women killed by current and former partners, are calling on the Government to open a public inquiry to investigate why victims of domestic violence are still not getting the protection they deserve from the police and other state agencies.

Two women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner. Each death leaves behind devastated relatives and friends. Domestic violence is a national problem; it requires a national response.

Why is this important?

Refuge supports a number of families who have lost loved ones to domestic violence.

Maria Stubbings was murdered by her former partner, Marc Chivers – a man already known to the police for killing a previous girlfriend – in December 2008. In the days leading up to her death, Maria called the police to ask for help, but none came. When the police attended the house, they took Chivers at his word when he told them she had gone on holiday. By the time they carried out a thorough search of the house on 19th December, Maria was already dead. The IPCC found that Essex Police made a catalogue of failures in their response to her.

Rachael Slack and her two-year-old son Auden were killed by Rachael’s ex partner Andrew Cairns in June 2010, after Rachael had reported Cairns to the police for stalking and threatening to kill her. Derbyshire Police failed to tell Rachael that she and Auden were at high risk of serious harm or homicide from Cairns. An inquest found that police failures contributed to Rachael and Andrew’s deaths.

Sabina Akhtar was stabbed to death by her husband in September 2008, two months after she told the police he had assaulted her and threatened to kill her. Malik Mannan had been arrested less than a month before her death for assault, but the CPS released him without charging him. Social services had received three separate referrals relating to Sabina and her two-year-old son – but closed the case without even doing an initial risk assessment. An inquest found that serious failings had been made by Greater Manchester Police, Manchester Social Services and the Crown Prosecution Service which may possibly have contributed to Sabina’s death. 

Cassie Hasanovic was killed by her estranged husband in front of her two young children as she attempted to flee to a refuge. An inquest into her death found that Kent Police had failed to arrest Hajrudin Hasanovic for breaching his bail conditions, and that the CPS did not take a number of steps to safeguard Cassie’s life, including failing to apply for Hajrudin’s bail to be withdrawn and failing to inform Cassie of the special measures that might have been available to assist her in giving evidence against him. The inquest also found that Sussex Police officers were inadequately trained in domestic violence. 

Numerous investigations into the handling of domestic violence have shown recurring failings across the country. Many women using our services also tell us that they feel completely let down by the police, and other state agencies.

We urgently need a public inquiry to investigate why these failures keep happening. Individual reports put the spotlight on individual police forces and local agencies – but no-one is looking at the national picture. A public inquiry will make links between different cases and help improve the state response to domestic violence across the country.

Refuge, along with families who have lost loved ones to domestic violence, are determined to ensure that Maria did not die in vain. Please add your voice to this campaign.

Find out more about domestic violence and our campaign for a public inquiry at
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Reasons for signing

  • Yemi B. 2014-04-20 09:11:37 -0400
    Because over 34 years ago me and my family survived domestic abuse with the supprt of our local womens refuge.
  • liz h. 2014-04-19 08:10:46 -0400
    Because it is wrong!! this shouldn't be happening at all, I know I am going through it myself :(
  • Karene W. 2014-04-16 11:11:22 -0400
    My two children and I suffered years of abuse. My ex husband was never brought to trial. He is now doing the same to another family.


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