National & International

Authorities ‘missed opportunities’ over murders of two women

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A review of cases has found “chances to intervene were missed” by authorities before the murders of two women in Northern Ireland, according to BBC News.

The findings were contained in Northern Ireland’s first ever domestic homicide reviews.

They were published by the Department of Justice (DoJ) and were conducted to help learn lessons.

The murders of two women were examined – both were killed by a man who then took his own life.

In order to protect their identities, they were given the names Ellen and Amy and details such as when, where and how they died have been withheld.

Ellen was killed by her adult son, a drug addict, after years of physical and emotional abuse.

During this time she was identified as being at high risk.

Although she and her son were known to a range of organisations, including the police, “partnership working within and across organisations was limited”, the review stated.

It went on to add: “This presented difficulties in fully understanding and addressing the safeguarding needs of Ellen.

“Chances to intervene were missed and responses were inadequate.”

New legislation

Amy was murdered by her partner – “a known domestic abuser” – with whom she had been in a relationship for a year.

The review into her case stated: “Amy suffered the ultimate act of violence by her partner.

“The threat of harm he posed pre-existed their relationship and chances to intervene were missed.”

The review also stated: “Amy’s life and murder highlights the need for organisations and society to radically rethink how to address male violence against women and girls.”

The reviews were overseen by an independent chairperson and involved the input of Women’s Aid and Health and Social Care Trusts, amongst others.

A further 10 cases are also being reviewed.

Domestic homicide reviews were introduced in Northern Ireland two years ago.

The DoJ said that since the conclusion of the first two reviews it has “progressed a wide programme of work to address domestic abuse”.

This includes new legislation and the preparation of a domestic and sexual abuse strategy.

Earlier this year, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) also published its first ever action plan aimed at reducing violence against women and girls.

Between 2017 and 2021, 34 women and girls across Northern Ireland were killed by men.

The PSNI said women and girls were “disproportionately affected” by violence, abuse and intimidation, accounting for 78% of all victims of sexual crimes and 68% of victims of domestic abuse.

Image source: BBC News

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