Seeking Justice For My Mum - Victim Of Abuse And Failed By The State

by Rebecca Rees

Seeking Justice For My Mum - Victim Of Abuse And Failed By The State

by Rebecca Rees
Rebecca Rees
Case Owner
I am a registered nurse and health visitor. Improving public health and understanding of coercive control as the root of domestic abuse is my mission in relation to hidden older victims of this crime
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Rebecca Rees
Case Owner
I am a registered nurse and health visitor. Improving public health and understanding of coercive control as the root of domestic abuse is my mission in relation to hidden older victims of this crime
Pledge now

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Latest: June 29, 2022

Inquest fails to answer the important questions

Dear all

an update for you - you can read the press release here

it seems to be an extraordinary situation that dangerous…

Read more

I'm Rebecca, the bereaved daughter of a much loved and musically-talented, Mum. My Mum taught music and played professionally all her life.  I am fighting for justice for her, following her untimely death in July 2020.

I'm a registered nurse and health visitor. I feel domestic abuse is a Public Health matter - often leading to chronic poor physical and mental health of both victims and their families.

Summary of my case

My Mum died an unnatural death at the age of 85. She died following a series of continued failings by the State and associated agencies over a period of 10 years.

She needed protecting from neglect and domestic abuse in her own home. I believe the State failed in their duty to protect my Mum. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and lacked capacity to make decisions for herself and to keep herself safe. She was repeatedly left at risk and suffered numerous incidents of domestic abuse and harm.

I believe that, because she was an older woman, the domestic abuse she endured went largely unrecognised. As a result, her case repeatedly fell through agencies nets that were supposed to protect her.

I struggled, unsuccessfully, to explain the danger to her life from domestic abuse and coercive control to the many state agencies involved in her care.

She was repeatedly left at risk by the very agencies that had duties to protect her - the Court of Protection, Local Authority, NHS, Police and a dementia charity.

These agencies repeatedly failed to recognise and respond appropriately to clear signs of domestic abuse of an older woman. 

Their response instead, was to scapegoat and vilify me, her daughter. I was trying to help them recognise what was going on - that they were being manipulated by the perpetrators of the domestic abuse.

Following her untimely and avoidable death, Mum was denied justice by an unreliable pathologist. Their post-mortem report concluded her death was by 'natural causes', preventing an official inquest being opened for a full year following her death.

I had to resort to a private post-mortem to show what really happened. This new pathologist's report has shown the original report to be highly inaccurate. There is now an Inquest into Mum's death, finally granted by the Coroner.

Call To Action

I've spent the last year fighting this injustice and trying to get an inquest for my Mum. As a result I have incurred significant legal costs.

We have now successfully persuaded the Coroner to open an inquest, after a year of the Coroner refusing to address the concerns raised by my legal team and the evidence we provided.

To continue the fight for my Mum's justice I need financial support to pay for expert legal advice and representation.

What are we trying to achieve?

This fight for justice for my Mum can bring about significant change:

  • Generate public scrutiny of the recognised organisational failings that leave elderly victims of domestic abuse unprotected and at increased risk through ineffective interventions
  • Improve agency-wide awareness and training on how the domestic abuse of older victims can remain hidden from view.
  • To bring about sustained improvement in public health, domestic abuse being a public health epidemic in our society

I am working closely with organisations whose remit is to raise awareness of the hidden nature of domestic abuse of older victims.

It is recognised that police, local authorities, the NHS and family courts often lack sufficient knowledge and training in domestic abuse. This can lead to further harm to victims when attempts to intervene are ineffective or poorly coordinated.

We're exposing major flaws in the Coroner's system, revealing the potential for miscarriages of justice when flawed pathology reports are used to interfere with inquests and limit police investigations into unnatural deaths of older people.

My Mum's case is far from unique. Other bereaved families share my concerns and require case reviews.

What is the next step in the case?

The Coroner, who relied upon a questionable ‘natural causes’ post-mortem report, has finally opened an inquest into my mother’s death.

There will now be two Pre-Inquest Review hearings, prior to the Full Inquest hearing, to take place later this year.

We anticipate that the outcome of the inquest will likely lead to further scrutiny of the agencies involved, with the potential for litigation, public exposure of organisational failings and raising awareness of the need to overhaul the adult safeguarding system in relation to the protection of older people from the effects of domestic abuse.

How much are we raising and why?

I'm looking initially to raise £3500.

This will help meet some of the significant costs I have already incurred during the failed family court proceedings and a year of challenging the Coroner’s choice of pathologist and refusal to open an inquest.

To support the inquest process we will likely require an additional £40,000, for which we will need to continue to fund raise.

Thank you for your support to bring justice not only for my Mum, but also for other victims of domestic abuse.

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Update 4

Rebecca Rees

June 29, 2022

Inquest fails to answer the important questions

Dear all

an update for you - you can read the press release here

it seems to be an extraordinary situation that dangerous controlled drugs Midazolam and Fentanyl can be given to an extremely vulnerable adult with Alzheimer’s disease  yet there is “ no record” of who did it , why or exactly when -   Even more extraordinary is the apparent tolerance of this situation by the very state agencies - police and coroner - who could of course take appropriate action to ensure thorough investigations are conducted to get the answers required and also ensure that other patients are protected from this type of potentially fatal criminal behaviour 

No prevention of future deaths recommendations and no serious untowards incident reviews conducted, no safeguarding adults review or domestic homicide review started - it all says that this is Ok and Older People do not matter 

Older People are All of Us Later and we all want to be assured of our safety , don't we ? 

please keep supporting our case - alas our journey is far from over now

with grateful thanks

Rebecca and team 

Update 3

Rebecca Rees

June 19, 2022

Inquest - 4 days in court last week

To all our generous supporters 

Last week was the Inquest - Conclusions to follow next Friday 

Thankyou for all your support and kindness

Press reports are available on Surrey Live website

I will keep you updated

with grateful thanks

Rebecca and team on behalf of my beautiful mum 

Update 2

Rebecca Rees

Jan. 7, 2022

Happy New Year to our backers - we fight on into 2022 !

Happy New Year and thankyou for your support in 2021.

Your valuable  support has enabled us to make progress with the Inquest hearings - albeit slow progress as there are many obstacles to overcome - we have a long way to go , Inquests are gruelling , nothing can prepare someone for what it is like to have to go over and over the painful details of the death of your loved one , months and years after their death - at times we ask ourselves is it worth it but its a one way street and once the journey is started there is no turning back !

So we fight on into 2022 in search of the answers that we should have had in July 2020 - it took a year to get out of the rut created by the state in the initial months of my mother’s death .

It is also a shock to find out what it is really like to be engaged in a fight for truth with state agencies - you read about the trauma and difficulties family’s go through often for many years trying to get honesty - but when it happens to you it is all consuming 

We are particularly grateful to the many journalists who are following our case closely and we are confident that the exposure the case will receive in due course has the potential to bring about change for the many other older victims of domestic abuse who are currently in a state of “ systemic invisibility “ with multiple agencies who are unable and /or unwilling to recognise and respond appropriately to the dangers their lives are in

This is a Public Health Mission because domestic abuse and coercive controlling behaviour are serious public health issues leading to chronic poor physical and mental health of the victims and their families- all of which is entirely preventable - all victims ask for is to be made safe - agencies are trained to recognise abuse and neglect - so why is it that they cannot manage the basics safely ? 

Please continue to share this page widely and encourage others to support my team on the long road ahead 

with grateful thanks

Rebecca and team 

Update 1

Rebecca Rees

Sept. 28, 2021

Our progress so far ....

Thankyou to all our backers who have supported us this far - our lawyers are working hard for us and preparing for the inquest process that lies ahead , this is the first step in seeking justice for mum - when i can i will say more 

with grateful thanks 

Rebecca and Team 

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