Refuge responds to the deaths of Val Forde and her daughter in Hackney yesterday

Yesterday we read about the shocking deaths of Val Forde and her young daughter Jahzara. Val’s former partner has been arrested on suspicion of murder. The case has been referred to the IPCC following reports that Val had reported domestic violence to the Metropolitan Police prior to her death.


Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of RefugeSandra Horley CBE, chief executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge, says:

“I was deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of Val Forde and her young daughter in Hackney.  I was also alarmed by reports that Val had made allegations of domestic violence to the Metropolitan Police prior to her death.  The case has now been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Less than a week ago, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) concluded its six-month inspection of the police response to domestic violence with a stark warning: that police action on this horrific crime is “not good enough”.  HMIC’s specific inspection of the Metropolitan Police Service highlights some worrying findings.  It found “weaknesses and inconsistencies” in the training provided to some Metropolitan Police staff, resulting in a lack of understanding of the complexities of domestic violence.  It also found that the officers attending domestic incidents are not always fully aware of the previous history and relevant intelligence.

The truth is that women and children experiencing domestic violence are often failed by multiple agencies – not just the police.  Every day Refuge supports 3,000 women and children, many of whom have been let down by many different state agencies – the Crown Prosecution Service, health, housing, social services, and probation. HMIC itself echoed these concerns and has recommended a further multi-agency inspection of these agencies.

Refuge supports this recommendation.  We are calling on the Government to open a public inquiry into the response of the police and other state agencies to domestic violence.  The state has a duty to protect the lives of women and children.  Join our call and sign our public inquiry petition.”