Malcolm verdict highlights the urgency for a Domestic Abusers Register
In 2017, five-year old boy, Alex Malcolm, was murdered by his mother’s partner, Marvyn Ihenanacho. Alex’s mother, had no knowledge that Iheanacho had an extensive history of violence, including attacks on five previous partners. The probation services failed to inform Alex’s mother, as per the conditions of Inheacho’s release and no information was disclosed by the police under the ‘Right to Know’ element of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, otherwise known as Clare’s Law.
Today’s verdict at the inquest into Alex Malcom’s death highlights the urgency for the Government to create a Domestic Abusers Register as part of the new Domestic Abuse Bill.
Len Duvall AM, Assembly Spokesperson for the Register, said:
“It was the tragic murder of Alex Malcolm, in my constituency, that led me to call and campaign for a Domestic Abusers Register.
When I tabled the motion for its introduction, my London Assembly colleagues agreed unanimously that the Register was the best way to avoid further deaths by repeat abusers.
“Today’s verdict makes it clear that several agencies failed Alex. The Government has done more to protect against domestic abuse using Domestic Violence Protection Orders, Criminal Behaviour Orders, and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, but it is obvious that the tools given to the police are inconsistent and limited by resource.
“A Domestic Abusers Register is supported by the Home Affairs Committee, the Mayor of London, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), various domestic violence charities, and women who have suffered at the hands of domestic abusers.
“This call can no longer be ignored. We must prevent domestic violence before it happens, as well as pick up the pieces after.
“There is a limited time-frame in which to influence the Domestic Abuse Bill before its reintroduction in the Queen’s speech. Urgent action needs to be taken by the government to include a Register in the Bill.
“This is the very least we can do to respect the memory of Alex Malcom. His death cannot have been in vain.”
Notes to editors
- Domestic violence in London has significantly risen in recent years. Since 2014, the Met has recorded a 15% increase in the number of victims, representing almost 10,000 additional cases. This is snapshot of a much higher figure nationally and provides a compelling case for more robust action against perpetrators.
- Rather than creating additional bureaucracy, the Assembly suggests the Register is managed through existing Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements. This system has been in operation for registered sex offenders for several years and allows police forces to categorise the threat posed by offenders, creating a national standard of risk management.
- The London Assembly is not alone in calling for a shift in focus to the perpetrators of domestic abuse. In 2017, a joint report on domestic abuse by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, and HM Inspectorate of Probation, concluded that far too little is being done to prevent domestic abuse. It stated that the focus now needs to be on the perpetrator, looking at patterns of behaviour and preventing incidents before they occur.
- The police are also taking extra steps to protect domestic abuse victims for example, through the Met’s Operation Dauntless+, which tracks just over 400 serial cross-border domestic abuse offenders, but this operation is restricted by limited resource.
- The Assembly has recently written to the Home Secretary and the newly appointed Domestic Abuse Commissioner to outline the case for a Domestic Abusers Register to be included in the new Domestic Abuse Bill.
- As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
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