A MUM of five who faced some of the worst domestic abuse on record has welcomed the Prime Minister’s pledge to provide secure homes for victims.
Mandy Thomas, 53, also thanked The Sun on Sunday’s campaign for helping to win this promise.
Mandy Thomas helped launch The Sun on Sunday’s campaign in January last year[/caption]
Mandy helped launch our Save Our Shelters campaign in January last year, urging the Government to scrap planned changes to refuge funding which threatened thousands of women and children.
Eight months later, ministers said all supported housing funding would be retained.
But we continued to highlight how abuse victims get varying levels of support depending on their postcode — and this week PM Theresa May announced that councils in England will have a legal duty to provide secure homes for victims.
Mandy said: “Working with The Sun on Sunday has given faith to me and other survivors. Getting heard is immense.
“It isn’t easy for me knowing my ex is out there. The fear of being snatched off the street, tortured, raped and murdered is on my mind as I campaign, so it’s a good feeling to know it has been worthwhile.”
Mandy endured 18 years of hell from partner Eustace Douglas before he was jailed for nine years in 2003 for GBH with intent and false imprisonment — and also received a concurrent six-year term for rapes.
Living with an abuser is like living with a terrorist. It is draining, soul-destroying
But after just five years, he was released on licence — and shortly afterwards, Mandy’s eldest son Daniel took his own life aged 22.
Mandy, a Women’s Aid Survivor Ambassador along with her son Jahmene, 27, an X Factor finalist, added: “Funding is vital. Lives will be taken if there is nowhere safe to go.
“My heart goes out to all those suffering. Children have to live through experiences that affect them for life.
“Living with an abuser is like living with a terrorist. It is draining, soul-destroying.
“Refuges are places to rest, recoup, sleep, eat and get support. This system is vital.”
The Domestic Abuse Bill will also instate the first statutory government definition of domestic abuse to include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse.
It will establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner and prohibit the cross-examination in court of victims by their abusers.
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But Mandy warned: “This subject will be ongoing until sentencing laws change.
“We need a system that deters these crimes.”
Nicki Norman, acting co-chief executive of Women’s Aid, said of the new bill: “It is fantastic news for the Save Our Shelters campaign and we thank The Sun on Sunday for campaigning with us.”
Mandy Thomas with her son and X Factor star Jahmene[/caption]
Mandy Thomas met with MP and Aid campaigner Stella Creasy at Parliament[/caption]
- If you are experiencing domestic abuse, call the daily 24-hour freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline (run by Women’s Aid and Refuge) on 0808 2000 247. Read Mandy’s memoir You Can’t Run – amzn.to/2Q8mizi.
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