A WOMAN who suffered years of domestic abuse at the hands of her violent boyfriend has today urged other victims not to suffer in silence.
The victim, in her 30s and from north Blackpool, spoke out as Lancashire Police launched a new campaign to reassure women they will be handled with care and given support they need to break free from abuse.
Last year more than 29,000 domestic abuse incidents were reported in Lancashire – including physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual abuse as well as six domestic homicides.
During her six-year relationship, which began in 2004, the woman, who did not want to be named, endured constant death threats, attempts to throttle her, was run off the road and had paint thrown over her car.
The abuse also extended to other members of her family.
It included threats to her two young children, her seriously ill father and her brother who had his house smashed up by the thug - who at one point was on the run from police for drug offences.
Speaking to The Gazette, she said: “You have to find the strength from somewhere, how many more times can you be put down, what is the worse thing that can happen if you pick up the phone and ask for help?
“I thought to myself I have already got no confidence, no self esteem, he was destroying me and towards the end when he threatened to kill me I thought at least the police will know where to find the body.
“He would always tell me if I went to the police, social services would get involved, and they would take away my two children because I was a bad mother.
“They isolate you, they remove you from your friends and family so you become lonely and have no-one around you to offer an opinion and tell you to get away.”
The Fylde coast has seen a number of cases in recent years, including alcoholic Stephen Green who was jailed for life for mutilating his wife’s body in a frenzied attack at their Lytham home. Carole Green was stabbed 99 times by her husband, who was described as evil and despicable.
During his trial it emerged she had been assaulted on several occasions before her murder.
In 2009, Claire Atkinson, 31, was stabbed to death by Alan Entwistle who had been bailed despite threats to kill her.
The case was very similar to that of Blackpool nurse Jane Clough, whose partner Jonathan Vass was also out on bail when he viciously killed her
This week, police and partner agencies across Lancashire launched a new campaign urging victims of domestic violence not to suffer in silence.
Det Supt Ian Critchley, head of Lancashire Police’s public protection unit, said: “Victims of domestic abuse and their children have the right to live safely in their own home.
“They should be reassured that the abuse is not their fault and they are not alone – there is a wide range of support available to them here in Lancashire. I would also like to emphasise that a significant amount of time is invested in dealing with offenders too.
“We always take positive action when we are called to deal with domestic abuse incidents and we do all we can to arrest offenders and them before the courts.”
Coun David Smith, community safety lead for Lancashire County Council, said: “The aim of the Safer Lancashire campaign is to encourage women and anyone else affected by domestic abuse to seek help at the earliest opportunity by contacting police or the National Domestic Violence Helpline.
“We acknowledge that men as well as women can be victims of domestic abuse but this campaign focuses solely on women as victims as mroe than 80 per cent of victims in domestic violence cases are women.”