A previous victim of domestic abuse has stated that further work needs to be done about the issue in order to protect other women.
According to a Women’s Aid survey, demand for domestic abuse services are at their highest and 95% of women’s organisations have had their funding cut since 2012.
Kelly Whitehouse*, from the West Midlands, fled from her home with her two children two years ago following an abusive relationship.
She received help from the police and a refuge in Birmingham but explained how they could have done more to help her sooner.
“One of the policemen actually told me that the issue was that there is simply not enough cells or spaces in prisons and that’s why he never ended up with any serious penalties,” explained Kelly, 39.
“I kept going to the police station and telling them a restraining order wasn’t enough because he wasn’t taking any notice of the ones they were giving him.”
Video: Kelly describes her experiences in an abusive relationship she recently escaped
Kelly explained how she was lucky because Stuart only gave her “a few slaps” and nothing severe.
“One of the nights I just picked up a pair of scissors, anything to just stop him screaming at me, and started slashing my arm with them because I’d lost my mind.
“It stopped him and he took the scissors off me and decided he was going to have sex with me even though there was blood everywhere.
“I was too scared to say anything because he’d start screaming at me again.
“I’D HE’D HAVE GOT THROUGH THE DOOR HE WOULD’VE KILLED ME”
KELLY WHITEHOUSE, DOMESTIC ABUSE SURVIVOR
“I could see that he was getting more insane and I couldn’t live like it anymore, if he’d have got through the door he would’ve killed me.”
“I was stuck with someone that was constantly shouting at me and I couldn’t get out the door or get away so I was fearing for my life and the kids’ lives as well.”
May 7, 2014, was the final time Kelly saw her abusive boyfriend Stuart* and the day she and her two children fled their home, family, friends and hometown.
Kelly added: “I remember screaming down the phone to the council at one point because the woman on the phone deemed it safe to go back into the house.
“She just told me that I was just trying to get a council house and wouldn’t help me.”
Domestic abuse statistics:
- Affects one in four women in their lifetime
- Has more repeat victims than any other crime
- It is the single most quoted reason for homelessness
- Women fail to alert the police until the 37th time an incident has happened
- Only 35% of incidents are reported to the police
- On average, two women are murdered by their partner each week
Karen Turnock works as a housing co-ordinator at an organisation called Chadd which accommodates 200 people in need of support in purpose-built homes.
She said: “We get some money from a pot of funding called Supporting People which is a national funding stream.
“We then have to apply for funding for our support groups and our staying put service which helps people that want to stay in there homes.
“WE HAVE TO FUNDRAISE A LOT OURSELVES”
KAREN TURNOCK, HOUSING COORDINATOR AT CHADD
“We have to fundraise a lot ourselves for various different services and we do have to fundraise by asking people to send in £1 to help too.”
Jolene Crosdale is a family nurse for the NHS working primarily with teenage mums under 20 years old.
During this time she also works with mums who suffer from domestic abuse who are currently at the most high risk.
“I’ve got clients that are on a child protection plan for their children that aren’t even born yet because of the risk of domestic abuse in the home,” says Jolene.
“There needs to be more education about healthy relationships early on in life to teach children.
“The cuts have affected my area and many others but what is more upsetting is that there seems to be no plans to change this and women will continue living in silence.”
For more information about domestic abuse and where to get help, visit the National Domestic Violence Helpline.
Have your say on domestic abuse financing using #domesticabusefunding or vote below.
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Tweet: A survivor of #domesticabuse has called for more action to be done about the issue following her experiences and funding cuts – see link (136 characters)