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University of Aberdeen critisised by parents for not doing enough to stop their daughter's suicide

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The parents of student Emily Drouet, who took her own life in March 2016, say that the University of Aberdeen failed to offer a "basic duty of care." 

Emily Drouet was in her first year of a law degree when she took her own life at her student residences in Hillhead Halls, after suffering weeks of abuse from her 21-year-old boyfriend Angus Milligan. 

Milligan, a psychology student from Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to three charges of assault on Emily in the lead up to her death, including seizing her by the neck, chocking her, pushing her against a desk and threatening her. He will be sentenced on July 5th.

Emily's mother Fiona Drouet told Sky News that they hold Milligan responsible for their daughter's death:

"He was evil to the core, we want to make sure he doesn't damage our family any more than he already has but he's taken our daughter. He destroyed our daughter."

However, Fiona and Germain Drouet claim that certain failures by Aberdeen University may have contributed to their daughter's death. 

"We're shocked. Why, when the university experienced him screaming and shouting abuse at Emily - as far as we're aware that was the first incident - they just told him to shut up, sent him back to his room, sent Emily to her room without any concern for her care… after she'd just been verbally abused in a really aggressive way, so aggressive that the whole halls heard it.

"Why were we not informed? Because that was her in a vulnerable position. A crime had been committed and we weren't told. We're her next of kin and she'd just turned 18.

"Our expectations were basic safety for our daughter, basic care, and we don't feel any of that was delivered. They knew, the night when he strangled her, and she… almost died.

"Emily went to the SRA. She'd been to them on several occasions. She didn't say exactly what had happened with the abuse. She said events had happened that she was upset about and that he had been angry and the relationship was really bad. Obviously they could see she had a bright red swollen face and they asked her: 'Emily, has he hit you?' And Emily's reply was, 'No, I just don't want to get him into trouble.'

"They didn't follow it up. They didn't advise us that they felt Emily had been hurt. If they felt they couldn't advise us, could they not have sought some advice from Women's Aid? From a doctor? From the police? They left Emily in the same halls as him, for it to happen again. So, already we feel there was a clear pattern of the violence emerging and escalating and nothing was done. We feel that the university could have saved our daughter if they had delivered the basic duty of care."

The court heard that Emily consulted a student resident assistant a week prior to her death, but the university claim that she denied the abuse and did not want to get Milligan in trouble.

The Head of College, Professor Margaret Ross, said:

"The university is committed to supporting any students who are experiencing difficulties during their time here, however we must balance respecting our students' rights as independent adults with our own responsibilities to offer support.

"Having reviewed the circumstances surrounding Emily's death, we are satisfied that the level of support offered by the university prior to her death was appropriate, based on our knowledge of the circumstances at the time.

"Nonetheless we have since carried out a review of our student support procedures, and where we have identified opportunities we have made changes to enhance the level of support available."

Emily's parents are set to tour universities and colleges educating students about domestic abuse.

 




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