VICTORIA Derbyshire had to fight back the tears as she revealed her violent dad used to beat her mum in terrifying attacks.
The 51-year-old BBC presenter said she understood the terror faced by those “trapped” in abusive relationships duringthe coronavirus lockdown.
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Tonight’s episode of the corporation’s flagship current affairs programme Panorama looks at the impact the lockdown has had on those living with abusive partners and revealing the scale of domestic violence during the height of the crisis.
Speaking to the BBC ahead of the programme she described how her “whole body” would “tense” every time she heard her father's key in the back door as she never knew if his mood would lead him to hit her mum or even whipping her with a belt as well as slapping her round the back of her head.
The latest figures have shown that domestic violence against women has rocketed during the coronavirus outbreak, with two-thirds of women in abusive relationships suffering worse during the pandemic.
While Ms Derbyshire could flee her dad’s violent rages by going to a friend’s house she said she felt for those “trapped” in the same house as their abuser.
She said: 'When the Prime Minister told us all to stay at home because of coronavirus, one of my first thoughts was for those living in abusive households – women, men and children, essentially trapped, forced to stay inside week after week.
“What would happen to them?”
In the documentary Ms Derbyshire revisits her childhood home in Littleborough, Rochdale, for the first time in 35 years.
“Like I could really cry, I could really cry,” she said. “Pathetic. So this is the house where I grew up. It's so weird, I haven't been here for so long and I've got some really happy memories of being there, but there were some really difficult times because my father was violent.
“You know, this was the 70s and 80s. No one had heard the phrase 'domestic abuse.' No one knew what it meant, what it was or what it involved.
“If he was in the house we were on eggshells all the time. I remember once he locked my mum in their bedroom and he was hitting her and there was loads of noise and I was scared.”
She added: “So I ran from here down to the police station which is maybe a mile. I was 12 or 13. I was so scared I just ran to the police stations and said ‘my dad's hitting my mum, please can you come.’
Horrifying figures show that kidnap, arson, revenge porn and even poisonings have been carried out during lockdown by aggressive partners under the cover of the stay-at-home restrictions.
During the first seven weeks of lockdown there was one domestic abuse call every 30 seconds.
And 75 per cent of survivors have also said the restrictions made it harder for them to get away from their attackers.
The shocking statistics were revealed by police forces in the UK in a joint investigation by Panorama and Women’s Aid ahead of the programme tonight.
The BBC programme features a woman called Jess – not her real name – who said on the night lockdown was announced her husband told her what this meant for her – before she was raped over 100 times over the next weeks and months.
The Telegraph reports she said: “I was at home with him, we were both listening to Boris Johnson and he looked over at me, he had his arms folded back and chest out, cos he knew that would intimidate me, and he looked at me and he said: 'let the games begin'.
“And he said: 'If you think it was bad before with the rape, you're in for a rough ride.' So the rape started really, really, really bad, really bad.
“Curtains would get closed, TV would be up loud, front door would be locked, music would be turned up, so nobody could hear me screaming for someone, for anybody.'
Almost three weeks after it started the Government pledged an extra £2million of money to hotlines dealing with abuse cases.
Fiona Dwyer, CEO of women's aid charity Solace, said: “The timing was dreadful, it should not have taken 19 days to mobilise any sort of action.
“It wasn't thought about for the better part of three weeks.”
Victoria Atkins, the minister for safeguarding, defended how the Government had acted.
She said: “When we were talking to charities in the very, very earliest days, we were very much responding.
“We said to them: what do you need for us to help? So we very much focused on that practical help.”
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