The Law Association is joining the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence in its call for a full investigation into the police service’s handling of the complaint of domestic violence made by Abigail Chapman less than a week before she was murdered.
In a statement issued today, the Law Association says it is not difficult to conclude that had an arrest been made promptly, and charges laid, the tragedy which unfolded within days may have been avoided.
“Police officers are frontline defenders of the rule of law. All reports of domestic violence must be taken seriously and acted upon. Police officers must be sensitised out of misguided notions that domestic violence is a private affair in which the state should be slow to intervene,” the Law Association said.
It notes that on the contrary, as this latest massacre vividly demonstrates, all acts of violence by one person against another, however initially minor, are the state’s business.
The Law Association adds: “The police service must honour its duty to protect and serve all citizens. We applaud the Police Complaints Authority’s immediate launch of an investigation into the failure of the police service to respond effectively to Abigail Chapman’s report of domestic violence.”
The Law Association is calling for an immediate assessment of any deficiencies in the response of the police service and that they be used as a jumping board for the timely establishment of binding protocols and the provision of the necessary resources to ensure that tragedies like this are not repeated.