Refuge disappointed by findings of serious case review into death of Auden Slack

A serious case review into the death of two-year-old Auden Slack, killed by his father Andrew Cairns in 2010, has found that his death could not have been predicted.

Auden Slack

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:


“I am disappointed with the findings of the serious case review into the tragic death of Auden Slack, who was killed alongside his mother, Rachael, by Andrew Cairns in 2010.  The review has concluded that no individual or agency could have reasonably predicted these events.  This finding seems to contradict the outcome of an inquest last year, which found that a number of failings on the part of Derbyshire Police contributed to Rachael and Auden’s deaths.

The jury at the inquest found that despite making an assessment that Rachael and Auden were both at high risk of homicide, Derbyshire Police failed to discuss with Rachael adequate steps that could have been taken to address the risks to Auden. The police also failed to inform Rachael that they had assessed her and Auden as being at high risk of homicide.  As a result, Rachael was denied the opportunity to make an informed choice about her and Auden’s safety.

Domestic homicide is alarmingly common: every week two women are killed by current or former partners in England and Wales.  Analysis of serious case reviews has also found that domestic violence was a factor in the lives of 63% children who were seriously harmed or killed between 2009-2011 (88 children).

All too often, victims of domestic violence do not get the support and protection they deserve.  That’s why Refuge is calling on the Government to open a public inquiry into the police and state response to victims of domestic violence. We need the Government to take a coordinated approach to understand why so many women and children experiencing domestic violence continue to be badly let down.”

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