Refuge supports Sally Challen’s murder conviction appeal


In 2011 Sally Challen was convicted of murdering her husband, Richard, and has since been serving an 18-year prison sentence. Yet, in light of a change in the law in 2015 recognising coercive control as a crime, Sally’s conviction will now be reviewed by the Court of Appeal on 27 February 2019. This landmark appeal could set a precedent in terms of recognising the psychological impact of coercive control on victims.

In response to the appeal, Refuge’s CEO Sandra Horley, said:

“One in four women in the UK from all walks of life will experience domestic abuse. You don’t have to hit a woman to control her. Abuse is often subtle, insidious and incremental. In 2017-18, eight out of ten of the women supported by Refuge had suffered years of psychological abuse.

They reported instances of extreme jealousy and possessiveness, monitoring their movements, their partners controlling their money, humiliating them in front of family and friends. Many victims don’t feel they will be believed, are too frightened to leave their partner, don’t know where to get help and live in fear for their lives.

Sally Challen’s family describe how she was controlled and isolated from them and their father created a climate of fear and dependency. Courts need to take into account the impact of psychological harm caused to the victim, especially in cases involving coercive control.”

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