Domestic Violence: Challenging the response to domestic violence
Maria Stubbings was murdered by her former partner, a man already known to the police for killing a previous girlfriend.
In the days leading up to her death, Maria called the police more than once to ask for help, but none came. When the police finally came to Maria’s home, her killer answered the door and they left a message with him, asking her to contact them. Her body was found there the next day. Maria’s family relied on the Human Rights Act to ensure the inquest could consider if any police failings contributed to Maria’s death.
The inquest jury said the police failed in almost every part of its investigation – they had made a catalogue of mistakes that contributed to Maria’s death. The Chief Constable of the force admitted the police had violated Maria’s right to life through their failures. Our human rights protections mean the police and other public authorities have a duty to protect life.
Maria’s daughter Celia has fought for justice and, as well as calling for a public inquiry into the large number of domestic violence deaths, has made sure the police force that failed her mum changed the way they respond to domestic violence.”
Two women a week are murdered by their partner or ex-partner. It’s happening in every community across the country. On the football pitch there are referees, linesmen, TV cameras, fans and viewers, ready to call out violence and intervene. The world is watching and violence is punished. But in homes, behind closed doors, it’s a different story. We may know someone is being abused but we hesitate, stand back, look the other way.
Women’s Aid’s Football United campaign works with football clubs across the UK, raising awareness about domestic violence and training people to be a hero off the pitch. There are no referees at home, but when someone reaches out for help they have the human right to be heard, and helped.
‘Unpunished’ shows how strongly the football community feels about violence on the pitch and uses the passion football supporters have for justice to ask why, across the UK, we are letting violence go unpunished at home.
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The world is watching and violence is punished. But in homes, behind closed doors, it’s a different story.