Emotional Victoria Derbyshire recalls abusive father hitting mother

Victoria Derbyshire fought back tears as she recalled running to the police to report her abusive father for hitting her mother.

In tonight’s BBC Panorama: Escaping My Abuser, the presenter returned to her childhood home in Littleborough, Rochdale, Derbyshire where memories of domestic violence in her childhood came flooding back.

‘I remember once, he locked my mum in their bedroom and he was hitting her and there was loads of noise and I was scared,’ she told viewers in a preview clip ahead of the episode airing.

‘So I ran from here down to the police station which was, I don’t know, maybe a mile or something?

‘I was 12 or 13, I was so scared, I just ran to the police station, just ran in and said, “My dad’s hitting my mum, please can you come”.’

Victoria added she was worried when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced stay-at-home orders at the beginning of lockdown.

‘So, what if you are living in a house with a violent partner?’ she asked. ‘Because you would be literally trapped.’

Victoria said that her whole body would tense when she heard her father return from work.

‘What mood would he be in when he came home from work?’ she told the BBC. ‘Would he provoke an argument?

‘Would it lead to him hitting me, whipping me with his belt or just slapping me round the back of my head?’

Refuge, the charity which runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, has reported a rise in the number of calls they received during the lockdown.

Last month the organisation’s director of operations Jane Keeper said there had been ‘huge spikes in the number of women who have needed or support during lockdown, and as restrictions start to ease we are seeing demand rise yet more’.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline can be contacted for free at any time of the day or night on 0808 2000 247.

BBC Panorama: Escaping My Abuser airs tonight at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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