A mum-of-seven revealed her violent partner tried to kick and punch her baby out of her womb when he discovered she was pregnant after finding a scan in a drawer.
Gloria, 38, not her real name, was rushed to hospital but thankfully the unborn baby survived the brute’s assault which left the mum black from bruising from head to toe.
An escape route was provided by Clwyd Alyn Women’s Aid (CAWA) which receives funding from the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Arfon Jones.
CAWA moved her into a refuge and gave her the support she needed to get her life back on track.
But fast forward a couple of years and Gloria, returned to the refuge after a second abusive partner punched her to the face and body, leaving her black and blue.
Now Gloria says the support she received and continues to get from CAWA has saved her life.
CAWA has now received an extra grant of nearly £29,000 grant thanks to the Police and Crime Commissioner who has made tackling domestic abuse one of his top priorities.
Mr Jones has secured a total of £238,000 from the Ministry of Justice to support sexual violence and domestic abuse services like CAWA during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Gloria, she has chosen to speak out to encourage other victims of abuse not to suffer in silence and seek help.
She recalled: “I told my partner I was pregnant but he didn’t believe me. I’d been for my 12 week scan and the scan picture was in a drawer. He found it and went berserk and began kicking me in the stomach and face. I was left black and blue but thankfully the baby survived.
“He left the property the police were called and I was advised to move into a refuge and they put me in touch with Clwyd Alyn Women’s Aid. My partner was arrested and jailed for assaulting me.
“At first I found it tough living in the refuge because I’ve led a bit of a chaotic lifestyle.
“I just didn’t trust any of them at first. I didn’t trust anyone full stop if I’m honest. But in truth the support right from the off was amazing, I just didn’t realise it.
“My support worker was amazing. She didn’t look down at me or rush me, I was allowed to go at my own pace.
“But then I met someone else and wanted my own space so I packed my stuff and moved in with a new partner I’d met. The problem was it was another abusive relationship and it wasn’t long before he started hitting me.
“One day he started punching me to the left side of my face. I was literally black and blue and my eye was closed with the swelling. He went out to work and I escaped back to the refuge.
“As it was the second time I knew what to expect and my support worker was great. She has put up with a lot and I know I’m not the easiest to deal with. I stayed in the refuge for more than a year and received so much help.”
She added: “I have been a drug user, crack cocaine mostly, and I did end up in jail. I knew I had to get myself together and worked hard in jail doing lots of courses. I came out of prison and CAWA have been there for me.
“I’m picking up a laptop soon my new partner has bought me and I’m intending to continue studying criminology, something I started in jail. I want to work in profiling or something along those lines. My probation officer is helping me too.
“My new partner is amazing and very supportive and my probation officer is helping me too.”
Gloria says the financial support offered to CAWA by the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner means more women like her can potentially be saved.
She said: “The work CAWA do is just amazing and so important. Yes I’ve led a chaotic life and made bad choices and decisions. I own every mistake I’ve made but no one should suffer domestic violence and abuse.
“There are lots and lots of women like me that need help and support to escape physically abusive partners. Without the finance being made available those women won’t get the help they need from organisations such as CAWA.”
A spokesperson for CAWA said: “Gloria has had a troubled past and had a tendency to go from one chaotic relationship to another. She’s had a tough life from childhood and many things that have gone wrong really aren’t her fault.
“What Gloria needs is someone to talk honestly to her without looking down on her or judging her. Hopefully she now has a partner who can offer her some stability and not physically or mentally abuse her and she can move forward.
She added: “We employ a refuge manager, outreach workers, crisis workers and counsellors and our workload, due to Covid-19, is rising steadily.
“Lockdown is starting to have an effect. Initially, women perhaps couldn’t escape but now we are seeing a steady rise as restrictions are eased.
“The money we have been awarded by the Police and Crime Commissioner will help us fund additional staff to support the rise in service users. It is vital to us and we are so grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner for his on-going support.
“It has been difficult coping with our workload throughout the pandemic and this additional funding means we can relieve the pressure on our team.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Domestic abuse in all its forms is an abhorrent crime and is something I have addressed through my Police and Crime Plan. Women, and some men, have to have a refuge available to them if and whenever they suffer at the hands of an abuser.
“It’s important to realise domestic abuse isn’t just about physical assault. Domestic abuse comes in many forms including control, coercion and sexual abuse.”
“I’m hoping the money I have been able to find for the CAWA means they can continue helping lots of other survivors like Gloria to get to safety and to start building a new life away from their abusers.”
The service provided by Clwyd Alyn Women’s Aid can be accessed by ringing the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 or by calling them direct on 01352 712150. They have a drop-in office at 8 Well Street, Holywell, and can be emailed at [email protected]