Southall Black Sisters to launch women’s campaign for a new offence of ‘suicide aggravated by harassment or violence’

“Growing concerns about the failure of police to properly investigate cases of women who have killed themselves after violence or abuse have led to a campaign for a new homicide law of “suicide aggravated by harassment or violence”.

The campaign is to be launched next month by Southall Black Sisters, who say the law would also cover those who jump from high buildings after being jeered by onlookers or who kill themselves after being encouraged over the internet.

An estimated 10 women kill themselves every week after repeated abuse, Home Office statistics show. Attempted or successful suicide is more than three times higher among Asian women in the UK, especially among those aged between 15 and 24 years old, according to research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 1992.

Patel launched the campaign after taking on the case of 23-year-old Nosheen Azam, who was found engulfed in flames in her garden in Sheffield in 2005.

“There has been no concerted effort to find out what drove Nosheen to attempt to take her own life,” said Patel. “If she had died, there would at least have been an inquest. Because there is no law of ‘suicide aggravated by domestic violence’, however, there is no motivation for the police to investigate whether it is a case of provable encouragement to suicide, despite that being nearly the same thing as murder.”

Read full guardian article on Nosheem Azam Campaign