Ex-partner of domestic violence survivor Zoe Dronfield sentenced for 14 years following brutal attack

Today, the ex-partner of domestic violence survivor Zoe Dronfield has been sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for GBH with Intent and Criminal Damage. Zoe, 38, was brutally attacked by her ex-partner Jason Smith, 31, on February 2nd 2014.

Zoe had been in a relationship with Smith for a year, but when he became increasingly controlling she decided to separate from him. During their separation, the couple met, and Smith brutally attacked Zoe while she slept. As a result of the attack, Zoe sustained extensive injuries, including stab wounds to the neck.

Zoe was referred to Refuge’s local domestic violence service in Coventry following the attack, and has been supported over the last year through the criminal justice system. Refuge-Coventry runs a local helpline, which provides support to those experiencing domestic violence.

Survivor Zoe Dronfield says:

Zoe_largesq“Today justice has been served and my attacker got 14 years in prison for almost killing me and leaving my two beautiful children without a mother.

I’d like to say firstly thank you to everyone who stood by me. The first line of attack for an abuser is isolation and I’m lucky my friends have stood with me throughout this horrific time. I hope this gives strength and courage to those who feel trapped with an abusive partner and they make the decision to get out. You are worth more and you do not deserve to be treated this way.

The police have new powers now and there is a new domestic violence law which was introduced in 18 Dec 2014, that incorporates coercive and psychological control. Do not wait until you have been physically abused or almost killed to seek help. I am lucky I survived but you may not be.

Don’t suffer in silence. Call a local helpline today for advice on how to leave safely. The Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy team at Refuge, the national domestic violence charity, provided me with support which was life-saving and life-changing. I would not have had the strength to take Jason to court had it not been for this amazing support. I would urge anyone experiencing domestic violence to reach out to Refuge www.refuge.org.uk

I am now also supporting Paladin in their campaign for a serial perpetrator’s register and order. Currently there is no existing framework to track or monitor serial stalkers and domestic abusers. Instead police rely on a series of victims to report multiple crimes. This is needs tightening up – we know statistically that domestic abusers often re-offend or go on to stalk their victims. A register will act as a deterrent for abusers and close down their space. It is the perpetrator’s behaviour that is a problem!

I urge anyone who has ever suffered or is suffering to get help. The shame is with the abuser and not you! We need to move our focus away from blaming victims of domestic abuse and look at the perpetrator.

They make a conscious decision to abuse.They know what they are doing is wrong and often alter their behaviour in front of others to minimise their abuse. “


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

Sandra Horley CORRECT HEADSHOT 2014

“Refuge applauds Zoe for speaking out about domestic violence. Zoe, like so many women, was nearly killed by her ex-partner. She has shown great strength and resilience in speaking out today, and I am proud that our Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy team in Coventry were able to support her in her fight to obtain justice.

Domestic violence is against the law. We would urge anyone experiencing domestic violence to reach out and get support. Domestic violence becomes more frequent and severe over time. It is important to remember that you are not alone – there are solutions to the problem. Visit www.refuge.org.uk for more information. Or if you are worried that a friend or family member may be at risk of domestic violence, please visit www.1in4women.com to find out how you can help.”