Dawn Morville, Blackpool

Challenge: To reduce the rate of repeat domestic violence offences

One day in 2005 Dawn Morville’s husband attacked her in front of their children. “He was punching me and tried to strangle me on the floor,” she says. The assault only stopped when the couple’s 13-year old son called the police. Dawn spent three days in hospital with a broken bone in her neck and severe bruising.

The incident was only one in twenty long years of abuse, which has left Dawn mentally scarred and partially sighted. This time, however, Simon was finally prosecuted. Dawn was hopeful that the nightmare of abuse would be at an end, only to find out that the police had lost the photographs of her injuries.

“I was devastated when I found out that they had lost the photographs. I felt tremendously let down on that day.”

Simon was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, providing he saw a probation officer and attended anger management classes. Dawn believes that the punishment was lenient because the photographs were lost.

Simon’s abusive nature had surfaced shortly after the couple married in 1986 and moved into a house in Manchester. The violence escalated after the birth of the children. “He used to lock us in the house and say he was going to kill himself and me. He would tie me up and hit me.”

Dawn left a number of times, living in shelters run by Women’s Aid, a national charity working to end domestic violence. She was eventually rehoused in Blackpool. Her advice for anyone experiencing abuse is to leave straight away. “Don’t ever think you can change him. If they are violent it will only get worse. It starts with small things, but you could end up dead.”

> Significant findings: Legal and physical security

> Significant challenges: End identity-based violence

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