Case 5

Domestic violence leading to death by so-­called accident


  1.   To show how detected but denied physical violence can lead to fatality.
  2.   To  show  how  law-­‐enforcement  and  hospital  staff  can  be  better  trained  to  pick  up on these cases and have better (legal) tools to intervene on time.

Narrative Case

A divorced woman of approximately 39 years (Sonia) with a daughter from her marriage goes to live with her new boyfriend. She was a clerk in a hospital and regularly came to work with cuts and bruises. Clearly they were from physical abuse but she insisted that they were the product of accidents and slip-­‐ups by her. In addition, she began to be drawn into the alcohol abuse perpetuated by her boyfriend. Possibly she did the latter to make the physical abuse less dreadful for her to undergo. In any case she never had the courage to get away from him. One day, upon not arriving at work, the police were dispatched to her home where she was found dead at the bottom of the stairs. The boyfriend said she fell while drunk and he didn’t find her until he himself was woken by police, as he was sleeping off his drunken stupor. The case was concurrently dismissed by prosecutors because of lack of evidence, although many believe it was at least manslaughter by the boyfriend.

Learning Points

[1]  Sometimes  the  obvious  should  lead  to  investigation,  even  if  the  party  involved denies wrongdoing, or covers up wrongdoing by their partner

[2] More  specific  training  could  be  given  to  law enforcement  and  or  hospital staff  to detect abuse sooner and be able to intervene more quickly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s