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Friend of murdered Kerri calls on schools to raise awareness of domestic violence to pupils

PUBLISHED: 13:19 19 February 2019

Kerri McAuley with close friend Laura Gaunt, who has started a campaign to get mandatory domestic violence education into high schools. Photo: Submitted

Kerri McAuley with close friend Laura Gaunt, who has started a campaign to get mandatory domestic violence education into high schools. Photo: Submitted

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A close friend of murdered Norwich mother Kerri McAuley has called on schools to teach children how to recognise and seek help with domestic violence.

Picture of Kerri McAuley. Submitted by Kerri's family.Picture of Kerri McAuley. Submitted by Kerri's family.

Two years after Kerri McAuley’s murder by ex partner Joe Storey, best friend Laura Gaunt said more needed to be done to educate young people about domestic violence.

The 33-year-old from Norwich said losing Kerri was soul destroying but she hoped the petition in her memory would help prevent similar cases.

So far more than 800 people have signed the petition on change.org calling on MP Amber Rudd, who has previously campaigned to change laws surrounding the issue, to support mandatory lessons on domestic violence in High Schools.

Norfolk County Council said it was currently delivering training focused on domestic abuse to high school students, and that by the end of the six month programme more 
than 2,600 children would have taken part.

Balloons and more tributes to Kerri McAuley left close to murder scene. Picture: Peter WalshBalloons and more tributes to Kerri McAuley left close to murder scene. Picture: Peter Walsh

But Miss Gaunt said she believed the training needed to be enshrined in the national curriculum to ensure every student benefitted.

Domestic violence charity, Leeway, agreed that although some education was happening on the subject, in order to fully tackle the problem it needed to be extended to every school.

Mandy Proctor, Chief Executive of Leeway said: “It is important that the government consults domestic abuse organisations ensuring that the content is appropriate and that all the necessary areas are covered.”

According to the charity there are four main types of abuse – psychological, emotional, physical, sexual and financial – but Miss Gaunt said most people are not aware what counted as abuse.

Norwich man, Joe Storey, convicted of killing Norwich mother Kerri McAuley. Photo: Norfolk ConstabularyNorwich man, Joe Storey, convicted of killing Norwich mother Kerri McAuley. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

She said there was also a lack of awareness of Clare’s Law, a police scheme which allows people to ask police if their partner has previous convictions which might mean they pose a risk to them.

Miss Gaunt said: “Kerri was my best friend, I’ve known her half of my life, what happened has been unimaginable.

“It all goes back to learning what’s acceptable and what’s not. If children have been 
raised around domestic abuse then they may not recognise it as abuse and think it’s the norm.”

Find the petition here.

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