Domestic abuse survivor recalls how she went to bed with her trainers on

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Martha Fairlie

A domestic abuse survivor spoke about how she would go to bed with her trainers on in fear that her former partner would attack her in the night.

A woman, who will be referred to as Sharon to protect her identity, was subjected to years of abuse and finally broke free when she turned to police for help and then spent lockdown in a refuge.

Speaking to ITV News, she said: "I would go to bed with me trainers on because I was prepared and ready to jump out the window if he came. I didn't sleep - because I was that scared.

"I finally rang the police because I was frightened and they took me to the police station and interviewed me. I gave a statement and I never went back to the house. I do believe if I hadn't been put in a refuge, I wouldn't be here today."

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Sharon said: "It was dangerous emotional abuse, mental and physical, sexual - and I had to get out otherwise I don't think I'd be here today."

She continued: "It was mainly controlled through money, emotional, telling me that I wasn't good enough and everything I'd done is wrong.

"Even after serving his tea, he said he wouldn't serve it to a dog."

Across Merseyside, women are struggling to access help. There are waiting lists for up to two years for domestic abuse services. In January, three women were killed in their homes in one weekend.

As lockdown lifts, it is expected there will be another surge in demand for domestic abuse services from women who spent months trapped indoors with their abusers.

Paula Barker, Liverpool Wavertree MP, has called for action.

She said: "This is not unique to Merseyside, albeit Merseyside has very stark statistics. But this is a societal issue and we need to have a holistic approach. And we need to educate men and young boys about how they value and see women."

During Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Boris Johnson agreed with Labour leader Keir Starmer that the UK has reached a watershed moment.

He said: "Unless and until we have a change in our culture that acknowledges and understands that women currently do not feel they are being heard, we will not fix this problem."

10 years ago, Katie Walker's boyfriend at the time broke every bone in her face. She now helps others through her charity KatieCares, but is frustrated at the lack of funding for domestic abuse services.

She said: "I don't see why it's taken somebody (like) myself who's been through this to sort of stand up and make a change, with no support, no funding to be able to do it.

"I've helped women escape, I've helped women not return to their partners."

Ellie McNeil, CEO of YMCA Liverpool and Sefton said: “The trauma that people experience as a result of domestic abuse has long lasting consequences and we must also support people with psychological therapies to help them to begin to recover.

She continued: "Funding challenges at a national level have meant that often services are only able to be reactive which can prevent development of effective preventative provision. As with any social problem, adequate funding helps to ensure good resourcing of provision in addition to a joined up approach, which is key to tackle the issue at every level”.