Woman speaks out as charity warns deaf people twice as likely to be victims of domestic violence

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Elodie Harper

A deaf woman who endured abuse at the hands of her partner has described her ordeal, as a charity warned that people who are deaf are twice as likely to be victims of domestic abuse as those who are hearing.

Abi, whose real identity we are not revealing, became trapped in an abusive relationship, involving financial coercive control.

She is now receiving support from the Cambridgeshire Deaf Association (CDA), which says local support for victims is "vanishingly rare".

Abi told ITV News Anglia that her hearing partner had exploited the power imbalance in their relationship.

"He was controlling everything in the house. If I was to go shopping for food, I would have to buy whatever was on his list. I had to follow it," she said.

"If I needed something - for example, nappies for the children - he would only give me a certain amount of money to do all the shopping so I could not sometimes get the nappies that I needed."

The Cambridge Deaf Association work in conjuction with the police to provide support to victims. Credit: Cambridge Deaf Association video

The CDA run a deaf domestic abuse service in conjunction with the police - one of only three regions in England to provide specialist provision.

Rachael Dance, an adviser at the CDA, said: "What we often find is that partners are relied upon to communicate for deaf victims and therefore they don't have their own voice, they're relying on their partner to speak for them.

"It is very easy to abuse that power, unfortunately.

"So if there were professionals, police, social workers showing up at the door [and] they were not deaf aware and they do not know about booking interpreters, it can be a real struggle for that deaf victim to be able to get their voice heard over the perpetrator who can communicate fluidly with them."

The CDA also provides educational videos for the deaf community about support they can access - support which Abi said was vital.

"I needed to ask for help because I needed someone who was knowledgeable and experienced working with deaf people," she told ITV News Anglia.

"[They were] knowledgeable of the language, the culture, the deaf community because for me, it felt like I could fully express myself in the most natural way about the situation I was in."

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