Another tragic case of missed opportunities – Refuge responds to domestic homicide review into death of Eystna Blunnie

A domestic homicide review into the death of 19 year old Eystna Blunnie has identified a number of missed opportunities to protect her. (BBC News)

 

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

“Eystna Blunnie was murdered by her ex-partner in Essex in 2012 – yet another tragic addition to the horrific death toll taken by domestic violence.

The Domestic Homicide Review into her death makes for disturbing reading.  A huge range of agencies were aware of the danger Eystna was in during the months and weeks leading up to her death, including Essex Police, probation, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and a number of health services, including midwives, GP surgeries and hospitals. She was clearly a terrified woman who had reached out for help on a number of occasions.

Eystna’s partner had a previous history of domestic violence and was known to the police.  However, following an incident during which he choked Eystna and threatened to kill her, the CPS decided not to charge him – a decision it subsequently recognised as being wrong.  The review also highlighted “inconsistencies” in the risk assessment processes of Essex Police, poor communication between agencies and a “lack of awareness” regarding adult safeguarding responsibilities.

This review paints a shocking picture of a system in disarray.  And it is not the first time that Essex Police has been criticised for its response to victims of domestic violence.  In recent years, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has highlighted failings in the way this force responded to Maria Stubbings, who was killed in 2008, Jeanette Goodwin, and Christine and Shania Chambers – who were all killed in 2011.

Sadly, these stories are not unusual.  Domestic violence kills two women every week in England and Wales – and in too many of these cases, state agencies fail to provide vulnerable women and children with support and protection.  State failure is a national problem – a problem of systemic proportions.  That’s why Refuge is calling on the Government to open a public inquiry into the response of the police and other state agencies to victims of domestic violence.

How many more women and children need to die before we see real change?  How many more times must we hear that ‘lessons will be learned’?  How many more reports, reviews and recommendations will it take to save lives?

We need action, now.  Please sign our petition calling for a public inquiry and make a difference now.”