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Family of murdered city mum welcome progress of domestic abuse bill

PUBLISHED: 19:02 12 July 2020 | UPDATED: 19:02 12 July 2020

Picture of Kerri McAuley. Submitted by Kerri's family.

Picture of Kerri McAuley. Submitted by Kerri's family.

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The family of a woman murdered by a serial abuser in Norwich have welcomed the progress of a ground-breaking piece of legislation aimed at strengthening protection for victims of domestic abuse.

Kerri McAuley's uncle, Steve Roberts. Photo: MustardKerri McAuley's uncle, Steve Roberts. Photo: Mustard

Kerri McAuley, a 32-year-old mother-of-two. was beaten to death in her flat in Southalls Way, Norwich, by abusive former partner Joe Storey in January 2017.

In 2008 the probation service had assessed Storey, then 18, as having “the capacity to cause fatal harm” to his then partner and unborn child, but despite this he was never properly supervised and went on to attack five previous girlfriends before killing Ms McAuley.

Today members of her family have welcomed news that the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, which will strengthen protection for victims, passed its final stage in the House of Commons and will now be debated in the House of Lords.

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Steve Roberts, Ms McAuley’s uncle, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic this thing is going through, but there’s more work to be done.

“It’s because of cases like Kerri’s, and there’s been others since, that these laws are borne out. It’s nice to see that domestic violence is a really, really strong focus of attention.”

The bill will ensure that children who saw or experienced the effects of domestic abuse would be treated as victims under law as well as introducing the first legal government definition of domestic abuse, including economic abuse and coercive or controlling non-physical behaviour.

It will also ensure offenders in England and Wales could face compulsory lie detector tests when released from prison, meaning that those deemed at high risk of re-offending will be given regular polygraph tests to find out if they have breached release conditions. It was introduced with cross-party support by Theresa May’s government in July last year but its passage was delayed by December’s general election.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, said: “After years of work, it is fantastic to see the Domestic Abuse Bill passed in the Commons.

“It will help many people in Norwich. I sincerely hope that what was done to Kerri McAuley, and too many others, may not happen again.”


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