Hollie Gazzard murder: School workshops ‘saving lives’

Posted: 26th February 2024

A man whose daughter was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend a decade ago says teaching teenagers about coercive control is saving lives.

Hollie Gazzard, 20, was stabbed by Asher Maslin while working at a Gloucester hairdressing salon in 2014.

The trust set up in her name now runs workshops in schools to highlight what coercive behaviour and domestic abuse is and how to raise concerns.

Nick Gazzard said he was “really proud” of what the trust had achieved.

Hollie had ended a relationship with Maslin shortly before he stabbed her to death on 18 February, 2014. He was jailed for life for her murder.

A service remembering her was held at Gloucester Cathedral on 20 February.

The Hollie Gazzard Trust was set up by her parents Nick and Mandy and sister Chloe in the wake of her death.

The family has campaigned to educate young people about domestic violence, and have told her story all over the world over the past 10 years.

Dawn Burke, principal of Newent Community School, said coercive control was something she did not feel “we had explicitly taught before”.

“The actual nuances of what happened to Hollie – and how we can notice some of the behaviours and how we can change our behaviours to be more positive as a result of learning from her case – I cannot learn that,” she said.

“I do not have experience of that.

“Having the trust who does that training for us, and brings all of that knowledge from that really serious consequence for us to learn from has been really, really important.”

Noah, 16, one of the year 11 pupils to take part in the workshop, said: “The fact there is multiple forms of coercive control – it is not just how you hear and see it on the news – but it is more subtle details that can build up over time.”

Sarah, also 16, said: “Some people do not get their side heard and it can go unknown for quite a while, and people like Hollie end up losing their life over it.”

Sara Dillon, training manager at the Hollie Gazzard Trust, said the organisation knew it was making a difference.

“When Nick started the trust, his intention was to try and save one person,” she said.

“Hollie is always at the forefront of what we do, so it is not an easy role but it is a privilege to do it in her name. And it is a privilege to then try and help young people to navigate sometimes those risks they are going to face.”

Mr Gazzard said: “For me the workshops are about giving them a different lens on life and hopefully we have helped them to stay safe.

“Not only now – but in the future – because there are skills they can acquire in those sessions that they can use going forward.

“We have had enormous feedback about how it has helped them, how it has saved their life, how it allows them to go out feeling safe.”

Source: Hollie Gazzard murder: School workshops ‘saving lives’ – BBC News

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