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Nayland woman launches petition to gain justice for victims of historic domestic abuse

By Priya Kingsley-Adam

A woman from Nayland has launched a petition in the hope of securing justice for victims of historic domestic abuse.

Having suffered more than two decades of abusive behaviour from a former partner, Anita George is keen to see the formation of a specialised team designed to investigate historic cases.

Controlling or coercive behaviour within an intimate or family relationship is now recognised as a crime following new legislation, which came into force in 2015.

Cases before this time period are not subject to the new law, making it more difficult for victims to obtain justice.

Realising the extent of the abuse from evidence she gathered, Mrs George, of Laburnum Way, plucked up the courage to report it.

“I read through the diary and thought it was time to do something about it,” said the 50-year-old.

“It was hard enough to walk into the police station because I felt really embarrassed.”

Mrs George kept a record of the abuse through a series of diary entries, photos of her injuries and hospital reports, which were provided to the police.

Despite the evidence, however, the time scale of the offences have denied her any justice.

Recognising the behaviour as abuse can take a long time for some victims.

“I didn’t realise I was a victim of domestic violence – there are a lot of reasons why victims don’t come forward,” said Mrs George, who described the stigma that victims can be subjected to.

“It’s such an all encompassing thing to even have to think about,” she said. “It takes a long time to gain the courage to speak out.”

After suffering a nervous breakdown and experiencing panic attacks, Mrs George was forced to stop working.

She has since gained support from a range of groups, including The Freedom Programme and The Kernos Centre, which are both in Sudbury.

Mrs George highlighted the importance of victims sharing their experiences. “They just get it, they understand,” she added.

A petition launched online must gain 10,000 signatures before the matter is considered by the Government.

To sign the petition, go online to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/238099.

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