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Campaign to change proof in law of suicide

3rd March 2017

National charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide is calling for a change to the way in which conclusions are reached in cases of suicide, and calls for public support to an Early Day Motion before parliament.

Suicide was decriminalised in 1961; yet coroners today must use the Criminal Standard of Proof, ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, to reach a conclusion of suicide.

PAPYRUS believes this perpetuates the stigma around suicide, offends families and friends bereaved by suicide and obscures the true number of lives lost to suicide each year. ”We believe the Civil Standard of Proof, the ‘balance of probability’ to be a fairer test and are leading a campaign, pressing for change to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009,” says Stephen Habgood, PAPYRUS chairman.

“The Early Day Motion (EDM) has been put to Parliament by Norman Lamb MP a PAPYRUS patron. https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/930 we are asking everybody to write to their MP to get them to sign this EDM.

“There is no doubt that maintaining this high level of proof distorts the figures of those who have taken their own lives and contributes to inaccurate statistics,” emphasised Stephen Habgood.

In the UK suicide is the leading cause of all young people under 35. Only by revealing the real extent of this national scandal will more vulnerable young people receive the support they deserve. 

Read more about the campaign.

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Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

We are the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. We draw from the experience of many who have been touched personally by young suicide across the UK and speak on their behalf in our campaigns and in our work. We need more people who share our aims to join us to strengthen our voice - together we can save young lives.

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