Thousands at risk of domestic violence


Nearly 11,000 people, mostly women, are considered by the police to be at high risk of being killed or seriously injured by their current or former partners, according to official figures.

A leading police officer said work was underway to ensure forces across the UK were doing everything they could to ensure the safety of those in danger.

The figures were revealed after Sussex Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) were criticised by a coroner’s jury for failing to take steps which would have stopped a young mother, Cassandra Hasanovic, being stabbed to death by her estranged husband Hajrudin Hasanovic in front of their young children.

Mrs Hasanovic was about to be driven to a women's refuge by her mother Sharon De Souza when Hasanovic, 34, attacked and killed her in Bognor in 2008. He was jailed for life. Mrs Hasanovic had been assessed to be at high risk of attack, but her request for a police escort was refused by Sussex Police.

Figures from 34 of the 44 police forces in England, Scotland and Wales, which were obtained by The Guardian, showed that at least 10,952 people, most of them women, were considered to be at high risk of being murdered or seriously attacked in the year to November 2013.

Assistant Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers on domestic violence, told the paper that it was critical for officers trying to protect victims of domestic violence to understand risk properly.

“While forces may capture this information in different ways I am working with forces and the College of Policing to ensure a consistent and positive police response for every victim, focused upon ensuring their safety,” she said.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said women and children had to be protected and the risk assessment-system could not be a “tick box” exercise.

“There is no point in doing a risk assessment if the knowledge gained does not lead to proactive safety planning measures that keep women and children safe from violent men,” she said. “I am deeply concerned that in too many cases this does not happen.”