Family of murdered Norwich mum back new funding for abuse team

PUBLISHED: 14:23 15 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:48 15 January 2020

Kerri McAuley was killed by her boyfriend, a serial domestic abuser, in January 2017 at her Norwich home. Photo: McAuley Family

Kerri McAuley was killed by her boyfriend, a serial domestic abuser, in January 2017 at her Norwich home. Photo: McAuley Family

McAuley Family

The uncle of a mum who was murdered by her abusive former partner said he and the rest of her family were delighted to see funding continue for a team which helps spot hidden signs of domestic abuse.

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

It had been feared the finish of Home Office funding could spell the end of a scheme which, since 2015, has seen more than 2,000 people trained up as domestic abuse change champions by Norfolk County Council's team of domestic abuse co-ordinators.

The co-ordinators, funded by the county council, the police and crime commissioner and the Home Office, have helped train the network of champions, including hairdressers, because people often share intimate personal information with them which they might not discuss with friends and family.

But John Fisher, cabinet member for children's services, said the council would continue to fund it for the next 12 months.

Kerri McAuley, a 32-year-old mother-of-two, was brutally murdered in her own home by her abusive former partner Joe Storey in January 2017.

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Her death prompted a domestic homicide review which lifted the lid on a catalogue of failings by various organisations, including probation, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police and which came up with a number of recommendations, including that campaigns should to do more to train hairdressers and beauticians as potential confidants of victims.

Steve Roberts, Miss McAuley's uncle, said he, and the rest of the family, would be "very happy" to see funding for the scheme continuing.

He said: "Norfolk County Council are taking domestic violence seriously and I'm pleased that the funding is there to support it. If it's making a difference then long may it continue."

Mr Roberts said he was pleased the scheme was seeing people like hairdressers trained up as domestic abuse champions as they could play a crucial role.

He said: "Kerri spoke to her hairdresser and she opened up to her hairdresser so training people in the beauty industry to see the signs and be aware...of course its great."

A council spokesman said: "We will continue to fund our domestic abuse change coordinators, at a cost of £142,000, for the next year, while we further develop our partnership response to domestic abuse provision in Norfolk."

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