Halifax domestic abuse survivor speaks out about how she was 'trapped in constant fear'
A young Halifax woman who was "trapped in constant fear" at the hands of an abusive partner in her teens has been awarded damages for her ordeal.
The woman was 17 when her boyfriend at the time subjected her to five months of physical and emotional abuse.
Now 24, the survivor has spoken out, recalling how she was punished with violence each time she attempted to escape, including an incident where he held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.
The abuse began in 2013 when her boyfriend started with coercive control, telling her she had to stay at his house and taking her phone from her, before escalating into physical violence.
The man was later sentenced to 18 months in prison for the abuse, after police arrested him when the violence spilled out onto the street – leading to the woman opening up about the months of abuse she had suffered.
“On a number of occasions I tried to leave but he would hit me and force me to stay with him. He would only hit me when we were alone. He had complete control over me and from this point I was held against my will for 10 days, enduring constant physical violence and emotional abuse.
“After previous incidents of violence I was so scared that I daren’t try and leave any more. I knew I would be beaten if I did.
“He took my phone from me so I had no way to contact anyone for help. He would take me to see his friends and his mother, but I wasn’t allowed to be without him. He had the ability to fill me with complete fear and I would flinch every time he came near me.”
Bravely recounting being held at knife point, the woman added: “I wanted to leave and he refused and punched me in the face with force which connected with my right eye. My vision turned white and I could not see and felt dizzy.
“He came to me with a kitchen knife and held it to my throat. He was saying he was going to kill me. He locked the door. I was so frightened of what he was going to do that I tried to reason with him.”
While he was in the toilet, she fled the house and ran out into the street before he caught her,
“He grabbed me from behind and dragged me back down the street and back to the flat where he assaulted me by hitting and kicking me when I was on the floor.
Later that afternoon, the woman was attacked again and cut on her arm with a knife. She suffered a broken nose in a final attack when her partner head-butted her and threw her down the stairs.
“I remember there was blood pouring from my nose and I was crying from fear and pain. He dragged me back into the flat and ordered me to clear up my blood.
"Then he came into the bathroom waving a knife around. He started stabbing my leg and I begged him to stop but then he stabbed me in my left arm.
“After a while the police were knocking on the door. I told them everything. I suffered five months of persistent repetitive violence on an almost daily basis and I am still haunted by the memories of the abuse.”
The victim has now received a damages settlement following the abuse as part of the Government's Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which is in place to support victims of violent crime.
Solicitor Stacey Flegg said the case highlighted the need for victims of domestic abuse to know that help is out there – as reports of abuse have surged since lockdown measures were introduced.
Calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline - run by charity Refuge - rose by 49 per cent in the first three weeks of lockdown, according to a report by MPs last month.
Ms Flegg, of Hudgells Solicitors, said: “In the current climate, where of course many more people have effectively been trapped with abusers due to the lockdown, it is essential that they know the support which is out there.
“The first call should always be to the police in any situation where any form of violence is happening, especially in circumstances where it is repeated and escalating as it was in this case.”