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June 3rd 2020

Criminal Injuries

Compensation awarded to young woman who suffered months of abuse at hands of ‘aggressive and controlling’ boyfriend

Compensation awarded to young woman who suffered months of abuse at hands of ‘aggressive and controlling’ boyfriend

A young woman has told how her ‘aggressive and controlling’ boyfriend subjected her to five months of continued physical and emotional abuse - punishing her with violence each time she made a desperate attempt to escape.

A young woman has told how her ‘aggressive and controlling’ boyfriend subjected her to five months of continued physical and emotional abuse – punishing her with violence each time she made a desperate attempt to escape.

The woman, who was 17 at the time, says her attacker had ‘complete control’ over her, at one stage holding her against her will in a flat for 10 days where he repeatedly physically and emotionally abused her.

The victim, who is now 24 and lives in Halifax, West Yorkshire, only escaped when police were alerted to a disturbance which spilled out onto the streets, leading to the woman opening up and detailing the months of abuse she had suffered.

Earlier that day her partner had punched her in the face and held a knife to her throat, threatening to kill her as she had told him she wanted to leave. He later head-butted her and threw her down the stairs and out onto the street, before dragging her back into the flat.

When police knocked on the door the woman made full allegations and the man was arrested and subsequently jailed for 18 months.

Damages secured through Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Hudgell Solicitors have now secured a damages settlement for the woman through the Government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which is in place to support victims of violent crime.

Her lawyer at Hudgells says the case highlights the need for victims of domestic abuse to know where support can be found in such times of desperation.

“This young woman quickly found herself trapped in an abusive relationship where her partner took full control over her life and left her living in constant fear,” she said.

“She reached the point where she was even afraid of what would happen to her should event attempt to leave him. It is this fear that perpetrators rely upon to be able to get away with their actions, and that is why it is so important for people to know that when they make that call for help, it will be forthcoming.

“Thankfully in this case our client told all that had happened to her to the police officers and they ensured she was safe and that her abuser was prosecuted.

“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.”

Abuse started within days and escalated to threats to kill

In statements provided by the woman as part of her case for compensation to the CICA, she said their relationship had started in February 2013 but that within days her new boyfriend had hit her for the first time.

She said that within weeks it became clear he was ‘an aggressive person and had a very short temper’.

“He began controlling me in that he would tell me I was staying over at his house. That was a command rather than a request,” she said.

“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.”

The woman said that on July 10, 2013, when still being held against her will, she again pleaded with him to let her leave, only to be attacked again.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

The woman she took an opportunity to flee when he was in the toilet, running 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,” she recalled.

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,” she said.

“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 to 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.”

After the woman’s initial application was made to CICA and was rejected, Hudgell Solicitors supported her through the appeals process, and also made representations for a higher damages award than that initially offered, given the scale of abuse she suffered.

That appeal and request for higher damages was accepted and awarded by CICA.

Reflecting on the support she had from Hudgell Solicitors, the woman said: “I can’t thank Hudgells enough for being there for me and helping bring my claim to a successful conclusion.

“My lawyer was friendly, supportive and professional and always kept me up to date with the process of things and what was going on.”

  • People who feel they could be in any form of danger are advised to try and keep a mobile phone with them at all times to be able to call 999 in an emergency. National helplines, email, text and live chat support services, and local specialist services, are currently open for business as usual and there are many suitable helplines for people who feel they are not in any immediate danger.
  • Local authorities have a responsibility to provide information about housing rights should people want to leave their home for safety. Shelter provides free confidential housing information, support and legal advice on all housing and homelessness issues. They also have an emergency helpline on 0808 800 4444.

See our guide on support for victims of domestic violence during Covid-19 lockdown

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