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Kerri's story helped shape new laws on domestic violence

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

New laws shaped in part by the tragic death of Norwich mother Kerri McAuley have been revealed today.

Miss McAuley was just 32 when she was battered to death in January 2017 by her controlling ex -boyfriend.

Joe Storey, 28, was well known to police and probation services.

He had beaten up five previous girlfriends and as early as 2008 was described by probation as having “the capacity to cause fatal harm” to his then partner and unborn child. But staff shortages meant he was not properly monitored.

Now, new legislation will introduce the first statutory government definition of domestic abuse to specifically include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse.

And the telling of Miss McAuley’s story to parliament by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith played a part.

Ms Smith took the example of Miss McAuley’s death to legislators to highlight the need for strong measures to protect those experiencing domestic abuse and to shape the domestic abuse bill.

She also took advice from Norfolk charity Leeway on the government’s proposals and what they felt needed to be done to further protect those experiencing domestic abuse.

As well as ensuring victims will no longer face cross-examination by their abusers in family courts, the bill will also establish a domestic abuse commissioner to drive the response to domestic abuse issues.

Plus new domestic abuse protection notices and domestic abuse protection orders to further protect victims and place restrictions on the actions of offenders.

The Home Office has published a report into the economic and social cost of domestic abuse, which reveals the crime cost England and Wales £66bn in 2016-17.

According to the research, the vast majority of this cost (£47bn) was a result of the physical and emotional harm of domestic abuse but it also includes other factors such as cost to health services (£2.3bn), police (£1.3bn) and victim services (£724m).

Prime minister Theresa May said: “Throughout my political career I have worked to bring an end to domestic abuse and support survivors as they take the brave decision to leave their abuser and rebuild their lives.

“We know, from the harrowing experiences of victims and their families, that there is still more to do to stamp out this life-shattering crime and the Domestic Abuse Bill will lead the way in bringing about the changes we need to achieve this.”

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