Taking Lives – Liability for Suicide
Refuge supporter Wendy Turner Webster presents a powerful documentary on the issue of liability for suicide
Refuge is campaigning for a new ’liability for suicide’ law. This law would hold perpetrators of domestic violence responsible for behaviour that drives their victims to suicide. Sign the petition here.
Did you know?
- Every day almost 30 women attempt suicide as a result of experiencing domestic violence
- Every week three women take their own lives to escape abuse
- There is currently no ‘liability for suicide’ law under which an abusive partner can be prosecuted for the suicide of their victim
Gurjit “Gurda” Dhaliwal took her own life after suffering years of violent abuse at the hands of her husband. This is her story.
Sign our petition now to call for change – click here
Carla Dunphy-Clarkson took her life aged 22 after experiencing domestic violence. Her note read: “He killed me”. Click here to read her story.
Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:
“Living with the constant terror of domestic violence can wreak severe psychological damage. It can drive women to the most extreme measures. Every week, three women commit suicide as a means of escaping abuse. And yet there is no law that holds their perpetrators to account. These men walk free. This fact is staggering – it flies in the face of natural justice.
A new ‘liability for suicide’ law would ensure that violent men are punished for their actions. It would help families who have lost loved ones in the most distressing circumstances to get justice.
Suicide is an all too common outcome of domestic violence. The law must be changed to reflect this horrific reality.”
Nav Jagpal, brother of Gurda Dhaliwal, says:
“My beloved sister experienced years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her violent husband. I was sickened when he was acquitted by the court. British law must be changed to ensure that perpetrators of domestic violence receive punishment for behaviour that drives women to suicide. Violence and abuse must never be tolerated.
I will continue to fight for justice for women experiencing domestic violence. I could not save my sister, but I will not let her death be in vain.”
Wendy Turner Webster, Refuge supporter and creator of ‘Taking Lives’, says:
“My new film, ‘Taking Lives’, tells the heart-breaking story of Gurda Dhaliwal. I have very personal reasons for making this film. I experienced years of domestic violence at the hands of my first husband. In 1990, whilst we were on holiday in Thailand, he imprisoned me in a hotel room and subjected me to 48 hours of physical and mental abuse. Finally, he put his hands around my throat and tried to kill me. Over the course of five years, I was on the receiving end of many such attacks.
Since then, I have gone on to have a happy and successful life. But I understand why some women choose to take their own lives as a way of escaping domestic violence. Over time, abuse can grind you down, making you feel that life is no longer worth living.
Men who drive women to such drastic ends must feel the full weight of the law. There must be justice for families of women like Gurda. A new ‘liability for suicide’ law is a legal and moral imperative.”
The story behind ‘Taking Lives – Liability for Suicide’
By Wendy Turner Webster
I tried to make this documentary in 2009 – but I never got it off the ground until 2012. Sadly everyone I approached turned a blind eye and showed no interest or concern for the many hundreds of women who had either attempted, or did indeed take their own lives as a way to escape domestic violence. I was shocked. Horrified. But I didn’t give up – and luckily in 2012 my friend Geoff Webster came to the rescue and secured funding which enabled the production to go ahead. We are eternally grateful to Geoff.
But Gurda’s brother Nav has been campaigning with Refuge for a change in the law for much longer – since 2006.
We are proud and delighted that, after many years of trying, we are now able to launch our film – we urge you to watch it and share it widely.
Nav, Gurda and the hundreds of other women just like Gurda, have waited long enough for change to come about. With support we can bring about a change to the law that recognises liability for suicide. Please sign our petition now – click here. Thank you.
Contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on
0808 2000 247