Independent inquiry calls for new laws to protect domestic abuse victims

Pamela Nisbet was killed by her son, Andrew Nisbet, in 2019. Credit: ITV Channel TV

A new law to protect the victims of domestic abuse, including a specific offence of coercive and controlling behaviour, is one of the key recommendations of the independent inquiry into the killing of Pamela Nisbet by her son Andrew in 2019.

Mrs Nisbet died from a single stab wound at her home in Le Grupieaux in St Peter after a campaign of abuse and violence by her son, who had mental health issues.

He pleaded guilty to her manslaughter and is now detained indefinitely in a secure treatment unit in England.

Andrew Nisbet is being detained indefinitely in a secure treatment unit in England.

The Nisbet family had tried to evict Andrew Nisbet, who was a qualified doctor, from their home. He had returned to live in an annex in the family home after working in England and wanted his parents to sign  the property over to him.

Despite repeated calls to the police and concerns raised by health professionals, a locum social worker decided it was not necessary to detain him.

The report by Professor Jane Monckton Smith says that Pamela Nisbet did not see herself as a victim of domestic abuse by her son and did not want criminal charges to be brought against him. It also calls for better training for anyone who deals with people with mental health issues.

  • Superintendent Alison Fossey from States of Jersey Police explains some of the barriers preventing victims from feeling they can report domestic abuse to the authorities.

Deputy Gregory Guida, Jersey's new Home Affairs Minister, says he hopes consultations on the new law will take place later this year and that it will be enacted in 2022.

It will mean cases can be prosecuted using 'hearsay' evidence including video gathered from police body worn cameras and from pictures of injuries.

Jersey Police says, at present, 61% of domestic abuse victims do not want to see their attackers prosecuted.