Melony Slack’s Campaign against Domestic Violence

Melony Slack has been a campaigner against domestic violence ever since her sister-in-law, Rachael Slack (above) was murdered by her ex-partner Andrew Cairns in Derbyshire in 2010.

Since then two women a week have been killed in the UK by their current or ex-partner, totalling approximately 850 since Rachael. Countless others experience abuse of varying degrees. Please see below list of helplines if you need help.

Mail Online report 27/10/15 (click for article)

Melony and her husband Hayden (right) now live in Lambourn.

Hayden was Rachael’s older brother and only sibling.

Melony now campaigns on behalf of the national charity Refuge which supports over 6,000 abused women, children and men every day across the country and all social spheres.


Rachael Slack

Rachael was a kind, friendly, bubbly person who was manipulated and abused by her partner Andrew. Andrew controlled Rachael by both intimidating her and making her feel sorry for him. She lost her confidence and bounce under the pressure of the relationship but when she became pregnant by Andrew she allowed him contact as the father of their son Auden. Rachael’s friends, family and neighbours were concerned about her happiness but did not appreciate the extent of the abuse she was experiencing. Rachael herself might have been concerned that if she sought help, Auden would be taken away from her.

Andrew suffered from mental health issues but was not consistent in accepting treatment. When Rachael started a new relationship, Andrew threatened to kill her. She reported him to the police but Andrew was released on bail, without any warning to Rachael about how much she was at risk. Despite the history of their relationship, she did not believe that he was capable of carrying out his threat.

On 2 June 2010, five days after being released on bail, Andrew managed to talk Rachael into letting him into her cottage in the village of Holbrook, Derbyshire whereupon he stabbed her and their 21 month old son Auden (above) to death before killing himself.

The tragedy made national headlines. Rachael’s family including her new partner Robert asserts the murders could have been prevented if more information was provided to them. A jury inquest was held in October 2013, which lasted six weeks. To sum up, significant failings were identified in Derbyshire Constabulary’s response to the case, mainly that Rachael was not made aware that she and Auden were at serious risk of homicide, therefore were not able to take precautionary steps which may have saved their lives.

Result of the tragedy

Hayden and Melony have been greatly supported by the Refuge charity and have provided information for seven different reviews/reports. The tragedy continues to make national news headlines, and the Slacks have worked hard to make sure positives have come out of it. They have lobbied to raise status of victims and their families and things are done differently now as a direct result of this case in various police forces & NHS trusts. A Domestic Abuse Bill is currently being drawn up and consultation stage has just been completed.

Melony was a guest on our show on 4LEGS Radio and reported that a lot of progress has been made to break down taboos around domestic violence so that more people ask for help in time and to improve and coordination of the social care, police and judicial services.

Click here (18:30) to listen to the whole interview with Melony about the impact Rachael’s murder had on their family and community, the support that is now available to families at risk and men who want help changing their behaviour, what to do if you suspect a friend or relation is being abused.

If anyone would like to contact Melony to discuss any concerns about domestic violence please email her at


If in immediate danger call 999.

Refuge National Domestic Violence Freephone 24hr helpline 0808 2000 247

Berkshire Women’s Aid 0118 950 4003

Reducing the Risk is an organisation dedicated to the safety of adults and children at risk of domestic abuse.

West Berkshire/Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 731 0055 open Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm.
Outside of these times call the 24 hr National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247
A freephone number that will not show on your telephone bill but may appear on an itemised mobile phone bill.

Swindon Women’s Aid , 24 hour helpline 01793 610 610 who support both male and female victims of domestic abuse/violence. They, too, not only give advice and offer refuge but also operate outreach services. Their website says “Domestic violence and abuse can take place regardless of age, class, ethnicity, lifestyle, religion or sexuality. What is important is that if it is happening to you it is not your fault and do not have to suffer alone.” Similar statements are repeated by all the DV support charities, so true and so vital to share.

Respect Phoneline 0808 802 4040 offers support for perpetrators who want help to stop abusing their partners.


The charities providing vital support to families at risk are always short of funds so if you can, please support Refuge, Berkshire Women’s Aid, Swindon Women’s Aid


The Football Connection

According to the Salisbury Journal, Researchers at Lancaster University in 2013 analysed figures from Lancashire Constabulary across three tournaments in 2002, 2006 and 2010, and found that reported incidents increased by 26% if England plays, 38% if England loses, and 11% the next day win or lose.

However, Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, says that spotlighting football as a root cause of domestic violence is unhelpful and potentially misleading. Blaming alcohol, sport or a combination of the two, she says “lets the abuser off the hook” and “stops them taking responsibility for their actions”. Sandra adds that football, like drinking, drugs or gambling is not a reason, but an excuse for abuse. Even when the World Cup ends, we should remember that “women experience violence and abuse at the hands of their partners every day, not just when the football is on TV”.


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