Father of Emily Longley reflects on domestic violence awareness 10 years on from her murder

Ten years ago, the murder of Kiwi 17-year-old Emily Longley made headlines around the world. 

Tonight, as Emily's family holds a candlelight vigil in her memory, they're reflecting on the impact her story has had on the awareness of domestic violence. 

The confronting reality is the statistics haven't changed - and Emily's father, Mark Longley, says it's time to change the message.

A decade on, Emily's murder is still at the forefront of international headlines about shocking stories of violence. 

"It just seems like yesterday that she was here - it's just a hard one to fathom," Longley said.

In 2011, Longley flew from New Zealand to the UK to hear at a trial how his daughter, who was studying there, had been dating Elliot Turner - someone who was threatening, openly aggressive with her on nights out, and spoke often of how he would kill her.

And then he did, by strangulation.  

The subsequent bugging of his house revealed his parents had tried to help him cover up the murder. 

"It's had a huge impact on me. I wouldn't be trying to raise awareness around domestic violence and sexual violence if Emily hadn't died. I would've been one of the millions of people who think it's not really a problem," Longley said.

Mark Longley says it's time to change the messaging around domestic violence.
Mark Longley says it's time to change the messaging around domestic violence. Photo credit: File

Longley says more people now realise it is a problem, but the statistics haven't changed - in number, or in focus. 

"We say 'one in three women will be a victim of domestic violence', when we should be saying, 'one in three men will be perpetrators of domestic violence'. We just turn the whole conversation around, so it's actually men who are at the forefront."

Rape prevention educators say some programmes are now shifting their focus towards boys and men, looking specifically at consent. 

Courses are being run for year 10 students, but some say it needs to go further. 

"Sports clubs are a really good example. When you've got a team, it's a good time to be talking about respectful relationships," Rape Prevention Education executive director Debbi Tohill told Newshub.

If red flags had been raised around Emily Longley's relationship, today she'd be a 27-year-old woman with a life of opportunity ahead of her.