Domestic violence statistics are about real people – you, me and the woman next door. On November 25th 2001 – International Domestic Violence Awareness Day – my daughter, Penny, was brutally murdered by her boyfriend here in Hastings, England. In the 18 months prior to her death the number of times Penny “fell down the stairs” and “bumped into the bathroom door” increased at an alarming rate. She was treated in hospital for various injuries including a cut to her head, requiring 8 stitches, which was caused by a blade.On one occasion she told the ambulance crew how she had sustained her injuries and I hoped that at last she was going to take some action to prevent further pain. I had contacted various agencies for help and advice including the police. Penny was too frightened to make a statement to the police herself.
Finally Penny repeatedly asked her boyfriend to leave, but he always returned. I had requested that she be put on the Domestic Violence At Risk Register.I later learnt that the police had done the same when called to an incident at her home in February 2001. I also complained to the hospital after Penny was discharged in her boyfriend’s company when she was due to be sectioned after a suicide attempt.I felt as though I was regarded as a neurotic parent making a fuss over very little.
I know now that domestic violence is so widespread the police and other agencies need the victim to take the first step. I stated to various agencies that my greatest fear was to be called to the morgue to identify the body. Sadly this was exactly what I was forced to do.I cannot bring my daughter back, but I have set up the Penny Beale Memorial Fund to raise awareness of the extent of domestic violence and offer support and advice to victims. If I can save one other life, then . . .
Please support the fund.Penny Beale Snr.