An anti-domestic violence campaigner is building up support for women’s refuges, which are facing a battle for their future due to a cut in Government funding.
Kelly Gavaghan, a previous victim of domestic violence herself, is organising a charity club night in her home town of Brackley to raise awareness about the issue, and the impact the changes in the law will have.
Government funding for all UK women’s refuges is due to cease from next April, leaving services, including Northampton’s Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge, fighting for their future.
Miss Gavaghan, aged 40, turned to a refuge after she left their home in Sussex 12 years ago, due to abuse from a previous partner.
She suffered 18 months of physical and mental attacks from the man, who was later jailed for a serious assault on her new partner.
She raises awareness of domestic violence through her organisation, H Bomb!, which she launched in Harrogate in 2007, and is now petitioning the Government for funding to be reinstated.
She said: “What concerns me is that even when funding was available, the situation was still dire.
Last year, 30,000 women and children fleeing seriously dangerous situations were turned away from refuges due to lack of space.
“The refuges provide a vital service and actually save lives and would be saving the Government money if the funding was to continue.”
“We have launched a petition on Change.org and, if we get 100,000 signatures, it will have to be discussed and debated in parliament.”
Speaking about her experience, she said: “Twelve years ago I could barely even speak and was a nervous wreck.
“I was that much of a broken woman.
“I tried many times to get into a refuge back then, but was always told there was no room. It was an appalling situation, even before the funding was cut.
“It was really upsetting and traumatic.
“I experienced physical and mental abuse, jealously, possessive behaviour and verbal abuse. He used to drag me around by my hair.
“I went from being a normal girl about town to constantly being covered up in polo necks, because I was constantly covered in bruises.”