Video: Courageous domestic abuse victim speaks out

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A brave domestic abuse victim has spoken out about a violent attack in which her husband threatened to kill her.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was left covered in blood after being attacked while she lay in bed last July.

She fled her home in the middle of the night to ring 999.

He later pleaded guilty to common assault and was handed a suspended prison sentence and an indefinite restraining order.

The woman said until that moment she had never seen herself as a victim of domestic abuse and felt ashamed and embarrassed.

She has now gone public in a bid to encourage others to come forward.

It comes after West Yorkshire Police launched a campaign lasting throughout the Euro 2016 football tournament to try and cut the number of incidents of domestic abuse.

The woman said there had been incidents earlier on in their marriage, but she had made excuses for them: “I always excused it for something else; it was an argument, pushing, shoving; he was drunk, he didn’t mean it. I’d have never put us in the category of domestic abuse.”

But the attack, after he had been out drinking was the final straw. He hit her round the head, punching her on the nose, so it gushed with blood.

“I remember crying and thinking: ‘God he has never hit me as hard as this’, (I was) saying please stop, please stop. I remember feeling pain where he’d hit me.”

As he started getting undressed to come to bed he started saying he would kill her. “His eyes were glazed, they were gone, it was like he didn’t see blood anywhere. I just thought if I don’t get out of this room, if I don’t he’s not going to stop.

“I have never seen him this bad before.

“I had to leave the house in the middle of the night to get to safety and I was terrified about what might happen next. My main concern above everything was my children – I did not want them to either witness any violence or get hurt themselves.

“Once the court case was over, I felt like a weight had been lifted and relieved. I got the best possible outcome in court and because I was granted a restraining order I felt that I had the protection I needed and felt safer.

“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.”

Detective Superintendent Darren Minton, of West Yorkshire Police’s Safeguarding Central Governance Unit: 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. We have specially trained officers working across the Force in our specialist safeguarding units who take all reports seriously, deal with them sensitively and do everything possible to safeguard those who are vulnerable.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I would like to commend the courage of this victim in coming forward and speaking out about domestic abuse.

“The most important part of this campaign is to raise awareness of this crime and that victims will be listened to and that there is help available. It is absolutely crucial that victims know that domestic abuse is not their fault and that they do not have to put up with it. There’s no reason for a violent or abusive home and it’s something no-one should have to live with at any time.”