Kerri McAuley's family 'bewildered' by 'stable door actions' in new domestic abuse laws
The family of Kerri McAuley said they have been left "bewildered" at proposed new laws aimed at tackling domestic abuse.
On Monday the government unveiled the draft domestic abuse bill, which introduced the first statutory government definition of domestic abuse to specifically include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse.
It also established a domestic abuse commissioner and new domestic abuse protection notices and domestic abuse protection orders.
But the family of Norwich mother Miss McAuley, who was killed aged just 32 by her controlling ex-boyfriend Joe Storey, said the bill was full of “stable door policies” and there was not enough focus on preventing abuse happening in the first place.
Steve Roberts, Miss McAuley’s uncle, said the law was a step in the right direction but he added: “All of these actions are stable door actions, there’s nothing there about social change. There’s nothing there to deal with the rise of domestic violence. We’re looking at education and for the youth it’s teaching them about having equality and respect for others.”
Miss McAuley’s story was taken to parliament by Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, during the shaping of the new legislation. And Mr Roberts said: “She’s been very proactive and she’s got a position. She can have a voice and she’s done a good job.”
But he said the family would like to see more done in schools and in the home to stop people becoming abusers in the first place. He said: “When Kerri passed the policies and procedures were in place but they failed. The CPS failed her, the probation service failed her, the child support service failed her. If you give a restraining order to someone who on four or five occasions has assaulted their partner, it’s just a piece of paper saying don’t go near this person.”
Announcing the bill, the government referred to a study which found domestic violence cost England and Wales £66bn in 2016 to 2017. But Mr Roberts said: “There’s no cost on Kerri’s life, it’s costing us our family members.”
He added: “We champion any change, but unfortunately unless we are dealing with [prevention] domestic violence will continue to grow.”