Sally Challen backs domestic abuse lessons for children in school

The first woman to have her murder conviction quashed under coercive control laws has said courses on domestic abuse should be taught in schools.

Sally Challen, 65, was jailed for life for bludgeoning her 61-year-old husband Richard Challen to death with a hammer in 2010, but walked free from the Old Bailey in April after lawyers argued she had suffered decades of abuse.

On Tuesday evening, Mrs Challen (pictured) took part in a talk about domestic abuse at the Senedd, home of the National Assembly for Wales, in Cardiff with her son David Challen, 32.

Replying to an audience member’s statement that healthy relationship courses should be taught in the classroom, she said: “I agree, I think it should start in schools.

“I don’t know how it could be rolled out, but I think young people need to know what is good behaviour in a relationship and what isn’t.

“And if you try and educate children – I don’t know what age they’d start – then there could be a change.

“One of the problems is we have children who are so used to seeing it in their own family. It’s maybe that courses run in schools can help highlight problems at home for children who take those courses.”

Mrs Challen was freed from jail following an almost nine-year legal battle when the Crown Prosecution Service accepted her plea to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

Mr Justice Edis sentenced Mrs Challen to nine years and four months, meaning she could walk free from court due to time served.

The judge said the killing came after “years of controlling, isolating and humiliating conduct” with the added provocation of her husband’s “serial multiple infidelity”.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Yui Mok / PA Wire.