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David and Sally Challen
David and Sally Challen

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David Challen at his mother's appeal
David Challen at his mother's appeal

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James, Sally and David Challen
James, Sally and David Challen

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David and Sally Challen
David and Sally Challen

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My Story

On a Saturday morning in August 2010 my mother, Sally Challen, 56, killed my father, Richard Challen, 61, at the family home. The next day my mother drove me to work whilst my father’s body lay undiscovered on the family kitchen floor, I stepped out of the car and she made a point to tell me she loved me. Afterwards she drove to Beachy Head to end her life but was talked down, arrested and convicted of murder.

In 2015 coercive control was made an offence, in turn it not only helped provide a deeper understanding of domestic abuse in acknowledging psychological and emotional violence it helped provide a language for the abuse my brother and I witnessed from our father. We believed the abuse our mother suffered over 40 years resulted in a loss of control. Coercive control gave my brother and I a voice to speak out about the abuse we witnessed. 

We campaigned for over two years to bring to light a true understanding of the events that led to our father’s death and in February 2019 we successfully quashed our mother's murder conviction. In June later that year our mother was released from prison on the grounds of diminished responsibility and returned to the family.

Read more here.

David Challen

David Challen

Domestic Abuse Campaigner

David Challen is a domestic abuse campaigner, writer and keynote speaker. He successfully campaigned to free his mother Sally Challen in a landmark appeal recognising the lifetime of coercive control she suffered in 2019. 


David continues to speak out against men's violence against women, coercive control and the impact of domestic abuse on children, as well as men's role in tackling misogyny.

David is a Prison Advice and Care Trust Ambassador (PACT) and a Supporter of the National Centre For Domestic Violence.


Monday, 23rd February 2023 

Are police accounts using #NotAllPolice to silence women speaking out?

All eyes are on the Met as they fight to keep Britain's largest police force from the chopping block, but are online police accounts derailing the work ahead?

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Flying the burning nest

15th January 2023

As Prince Harry's memoir details life in the gilded cage, can the family image of monarchy past show itself to be anything but the abusive image it’s always been? I investigate in my new long-read how Harry's allegations of manipulation and control are deeply concerning or the future of the Royal Family.

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Substack launch

Saturday, 10th December 2022

I'm happy to announce I am now on Substack. My work has lead me to publish my writings on multiple news outlets from The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Times and The Telegraph and many more, but on Substack I want the freedom to explore stories in more depth and do some things different. Some articles will be short reflections, others deep dives, all intended to give a perspective to you that is not widely covered. Who knows, maybe an audio interview with people I greatly admire could be in the future. Everything and anything is possible, so subscribe and find out.

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Tea with Changemakers Podcast: discussing how to engage more men on tackling male violence against women.

Tuesday, 19th July 2022

Having chosen not to do interviews about my experiences of domestic abuse for more than a year for personal reasons, I'm glad to be back engaging again and most importantly discussing how to engage more men on tackling male violence against women. Many thanks to Social Change UK.

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Published Work
Home: Speaking


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The Case of Sally Challen 

Aired on BBC TWO.

Previously available on BBC iPlayer.

(Viewer link on request via Contact Me section)

A landmark film.

A landmark case in domestic abuse.




"This documentary takes us to the heart of one of the most talked-about British legal cases of recent years."




The Sally Challen Case

Many other women who are victims of abuse and violence are in prison today serving life sentences, and I know this because I have met them.

They have suffered abuse and other miscarriages of justice and should be serving sentences for manslaughter and not murder - Sally Challen

No one should become homeless after fleeing domestic abuse in any society, but it is happening in ours right now.


Anyone fleeing domestic abuse must have a guaranteed safe, permanent home”

"2 in 3 families bereaved by fatal domestic abuse have had their grieving process damaged by the press.

In collaboration with Level Up and AAFDA we are calling for better reporting standards so victims feel safe to share their stories without fear of further trauma


Two women a week die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner. Yet less than 1% of perpetrators currently receive an intervention to challenge their behaviour.

We must publish a Perpetrator Strategy.

It’s vital to specifically recognise the bespoke nature of post-separation abuse by ensuring the Domestic Abuse Bill provides a complete acknowledgement of survivors experiences and protection in the future. 




Having spent the majority of my life experiencing coercive control and domestic abuse in the home, I value the need for society to be aware of non-physical forms of violence that exist in all parts of our society.

I continue to actively speak out against violence against women as well as the need to promote discussion about healthy/unhealthy relationships and what men can do to help challenge misogyny in today's society.

I share my story, learning and awareness of these issues across all sectors and across a variety of clients. I share my voice in my role as a Prison Advice and Care Trust ambassador and Supporter of the National Centre For Domestic Violence to help others.

If you'd like to book me to speak at your event please get in touch via the Contact Me section at the bottom of this page!

David Challen spaking


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