Brave Norfolk women praised for sharing their stories in hard-hitting TV show

A portrait of Kelly. Kelly tells us the story of her abuse at the hands of her partner. PIC:Brinkwor

A portrait of Kelly. Kelly tells us the story of her abuse at the hands of her partner. PIC:Brinkworth Productions. - Credit: Archant

Two Norfolk women who suffered devastating domestic abuse have been praised for their 'overwhelming bravery' after their stories are to feature in a new hard-hitting TV documentary which airs tonight (February 20).

A portrait of Hazel as she goes for a walk on a local beach. PIC: Brinkworth Productions.

A portrait of Hazel as she goes for a walk on a local beach. PIC: Brinkworth Productions. - Credit: Archant

The Abused, which airs on Channel 5 at 9pm, tells the story of two women, Hazel and Kelly, who were attacked in the same week in Norfolk and follows their lives as events unfold in the days after they were attacked.

The 90-minute documentary, part of Channel 5's Modern Britain series, has been praised by the government's safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins for helping to 'shine a light on domestic abuse to ensure this hidden crime does not remain in the shadows'.

She said: 'The stories shown are deeply harrowing and demonstrates the devastating impact that domestic abuse has on victims and their families. I commend the overwhelming bravery shown by those affected to reach out for help and the professionalism of the police.

'The programme displays the complex nature of domestic abuse and how we can all play a role to tackle this destructive crime. Through the landmark draft Domestic Abuse Bill, published last month, the Government has set out a range of measures aimed at supporting victims and their families and pursuing offenders.

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'We are absolutely committed to shining a light on domestic abuse to ensure this hidden crime does not remain in the shadows.'

Thousands of women across Britain live in fear of their partner.

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Brutal attacks happen every day and shockingly two women are murdered every week by their current or former partners.

With remarkable access to the women themselves, and the inside story of the investigations carried out by Norfolk Police as they unfolds, The Abused reveals the heart-breaking reality of life inside a violent relationship.

The film is a revealing and disturbing look at the day to day violent abuse that many people are subjected to by their partners. It chronicles the fear that prevents them seeking help, and the long, and terrifying process women endure within an investigation - as they wait to find out if the person they once loved, who has caused them so much fear and pain, will face justice.

Guy Davies, Channel 5 commissioning editor for factual programming, said: 'As a public service broadcaster, it is important to raise awareness of important national issues.

'The domestic abuse and violence statistics are shocking, and we hope that The Abused highlights and informs audiences and government of the complexities surrounding domestic abuse, especially in light of the new proposed bill.'

T/Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison from Norfolk Constabulary said: 'Domestic abuse affects victims and families from all walks of life, it is not confined to particular social groups or communities and its impact can be devastating.

'The courage shown by Hazel and Kelly in allowing their story to be told is inspirational and should act as a lightning rod to all. Domestic abuse is sadly endemic in society.

'From the latest available information, ending in March 2018 the Office of National Statistics concluded that an estimated 1.9 million adults aged 16 to 59 experienced domestic abuse. Throughout the same year nationally the police recorded 1.1 million domestic abuse-related incidents. In Norfolk alone the police respond to 16,000 calls each year. That's 43 domestic abuse calls every day.'

He added: 'In recent years policing has worked hard to improve its response to domestic abuse and it is a priority for every chief constable and police and crime commissioner.

'That priority can be seen on the front line and the documentary shows Norfolk's officers and staff working tirelessly to support Hazel and Kelly. 'Policing alone, however will not solve domestic abuse. An integrated whole system and public health approach is required that focuses on effective interventions and prevention. Such an approach would call for a new style of public campaign which ensures clarity for all agencies in identifying, reporting and responding to abuse.'

The documentary, which will be shown at 9pm tonight (Wednesday, February 20) will be followed by a 30 minute special called How To Leave An Abusive Relationship Safely offering support and helpful advice to anyone affected by the issues raised.

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