A woman who survived terrifying domestic abuse has bravely spoken out in support of a campaign launched in West Yorkshire to tackle violent behaviour.
Police launched the campaign for the duration of the Euro 2016 football tournament to reduce the number of domestic abuse incidents after seeing an increase in incidents during other major sporting events.
Once this year’s tournament kicked off, they immediately saw a big rise in calls.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that she never saw herself as a victim of domestic abuse until the violence escalated and she was left with serious injuries.
Last summer, her then husband violently assaulted her and she fled the house covered in blood, to safety and then called the police. Her main concern was not herself but to ensure her children were safe, as they were in the house at the time.
Once she had reported the incident to police, he pleaded guilty to common assault and was sentenced four months later. He received a suspended prison sentence and an indefinite restraining order, preventing him for contacting her.
She said: “The last incident was the final straw for me – there had been a number of incidents throughout my marriage when my husband was violent, but this was by far the worst. His eyes were glazed over in rage and kept saying over and over again that he was going to kill me.
“I think there are many people out there, as I was, who are in denial about their situation, it is very easy, as I found myself, to brush it aside and make excuses about what is happening. The first step is to admit there is a problem.
“For me, it came to the point where I had no other choice but to call the police. My husband violently attacked me and I feared for my life, I thought he was going to kill me.
“There is still a taboo around domestic abuse and an embarrassment around reporting incidents to the police. I now know what is acceptable and what isn’t in a relationship and I would never put up with any sort of abuse again; and no one should.”
Det Supt Darren Minton said: “Domestic abuse is an offence which can have severe emotional and physical effects on its victims and I want those suffering or at risk of suffering to know that safeguarding professionals are better equipped than ever to provide help, advice, support and that officers will make every effort to prosecute those responsible.
“Some victims suffer controlling and coercive behaviour for a long time with their partner’s behaviour gradually getting worse and eventually ending in violence.”
To get help call the 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. You can report domestic abuse by calling 101 and asking to speak to your local Safeguarding Unit. If a crime is ongoing, and there is a threat to life always call 999.
A number of help lines are also available for men who think they might become violent and want to stop, they include The National Helpline For Men Wanting To Change, 0808 8024040 and STOP Leeds 0113 244 6007 or Safe@Home Men’s Group 0800 915 1561.