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Victims mother launches charity

The mother of Clare Bernal, who was shot dead by a former boyfriend at Harvey Nichols, is campaigning for more family justice centres to be opened. Tricia Bernal will speak about stalking and domestic violence at the launch of the CRT charity at what is said to be Europe's only family justice centre.

Her daughter, from Groombridge on the Kent/Sussex border, died in 2005 in the store in Knightsbridge, central London. Michael Pech shot the 22-year-old shop worker and then killed himself.

Mrs Bernal, launching the domestic violence charity CRT with co-founder Carol Faruqhai, said family justice centres brought all agencies under one roof so it provided expertise and saved time.

She said: "Very often there is no time. Something can be medium to low risk one minute, and then suddenly it accelerates to high risk." And she said police needed to work with other agencies "for a true risk assessment".

The CRT charity takes its name from the first-name initials of three murder victims - with "C" standing for Clare. The family justice centre in Croydon - run by the council, police and health workers - claims to have helped more than 9,500 families and prevented many potential murders.

It was developed with help from the San Diego Family Justice Center in the US, and was designed to bring dozens of domestic violence services under one roof.

Families of domestic abuse victims are speaking during a two-day event at the Croydon centre, which will also look at issues ranging from honour-based violence and forced marriages to sexual exploitation of children.


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