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Suffolk: Domestic abuse victim who lost part of her ear in attack speaks out in bid to encourage others to seek help

16:06 06 March 2014

The injuries suffered by Debbie

The injuries suffered by Debbie

Archant

A domestic abuse victim who lost part of her ear when she was attacked by her husband has spoken out in a bid to encourage other victims to come forward and seek help.

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“I wish I’d got out sooner” was the main message of Debbie, from the Babergh area, who was also left with bruises on her body from the incident in September 2013.

Speaking of the abuse she suffered that day, for which her husband was jailed for four years and 11 months, Debbie has spoken of what led to her contacting police, ending the relationship and getting support.

She said: “I can’t remember exactly what happened but he lost his temper and I’d had enough.

“He cut up my SIM card so that I couldn’t contact anybody, went onto destroy precious things to me like the photos of my grandson and threw my mum’s ashes all over the floor before vacuuming them up.

“I ended up being punched in the face, then at one point I was cowering on the floor, but he was hitting my back and even tried to gouge my eyes out.

“Then he actually bit my ear and I just saw part of it lying on the floor. At one point he had my neck in such a way that I thought he was going to kill me.”

But the attack was not the first time Debbie had been hit by her husband.

She recalled one incident a few years ago when he head-butted her, resulting in a trip to the hospital with friends, but she did not press charges.

She told her friends instead that she had fallen down the stairs.

“I’d never want anyone to go through what I went through,” she added.

“It’s only in the last few weeks that I have felt good about myself. When I went back to work I put on a brave face but as soon as I’d get in my car I’d just cry. From September to Christmas I think I cried every day.

“It was just horrendous. It’s hard when people say ‘just leave’, but there are things that hold you there. I can’t say that it was a very happy relationship.

“You just hang on but then it gets worse and worse. I don’t really know why I stayed, maybe I just didn’t want to be on my own.

Debbie was offered support by the Ipswich-based refuge, Lighthouse Women’s Aid and Suffolk police helped her through the prosecution process.

She described the police as being “really, really good”, and praised the work of Lighthouse Women’s Aid, who are always at hand to help.

When asked what advice Debbie would give to victims currently living in an abusive relationship, she said: “I would say if it’s possible to get out then get out. But if not then try to get as much help as you can.

“I had a good support network with friends and family, I am lucky because I have got an awful lot of friends. I know it must be hard if someone hasn’t got that many people but pick up the phone, there are plenty of refuges, there is plenty of help if you want it.”

DC Jonathan Chapman from Bury CID, who dealt with the investigation, added: “For a victim to come forward and say ‘this is what happened to me’ has to be frightening for them; but the police will and do on a daily basis, with the support of numerous agencies, try to gain the trust of victims to help them to find confidence to confront those that caused them harm.

“Officers know that this bond of trust is vital for the victim’s welfare, so they know that they have been taken seriously, in matters of an extremely personal and intimate nature.”

Debbie is now looking to the future and to putting everything behind her.

“A year ago I wouldn’t have thought that I would be in this situation with him in prison, but I feel like I can move on now and have a better life. In the last few weeks I’ve been out more. My children and my friends never used to come here because they never felt welcome, but now they feel like they can come any time they want.”

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