Police handling of domestic abuse case criticised

The murder of 21 year old mother Casey Brittle by a former partner has highlighted a serious issue about how police handle domestic abuse cases.

Ms Brittle had called Nottinghamshire Police on 11 occasions over a two year period before her death. An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report said that offices called out did not take "positive action", did not seem to understand domestic abuse policy and procedures, and failed to pass on information to the domestic support unit which would have resulted in the case getting a higher priority. The report said the officers also failed to impose bail conditions on Sanchez Williams that would have prevented him from making contact with Ms Brittle.

IPCC Commissioner, Amerdeep Somal described Sanchez Williams as a "man well-known to local police for his propensity for violence and threatening behaviour", and that the failure of officers to perform basic actions probably prevented others from seeing "the full picture of her suffering."

Lenore Rice, a solicitor specialising in domestic abuse cases at Northern Ireland firm Wilson Nesbitt, commented:

"Instances of domestic abuse are unfortunately widespread throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The tragic truth is that these cases are often allowed to escalate because the victim doesn't know where to turn, or because people who are aware of the situation don't respond appropriately.

"Anyone suffering domestic abuse should make a friend or relative aware, contact the police, and contact a solicitor as quickly as possible to try and remove themselves from the situation before it is allowed to increase in severity."

If you would like to speak to a solicitor about domestic violence, including application for emergency Non-molestation and Occupation Orders, Injunctions and Matrimonial Home rights to protect you and your children's interests, contact Wilson Nesbitt by email at family@wilson-nesbitt.com or by calling 0800 840 9292.

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