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Hot Topic for May 2018 Alex Skeel: Domestic abuse survivor was ‘days from death’

Current Hot Topic for May 2018


Alex Skeel: Domestic abuse survivor was ‘days from death’

Title

Alex Skeel: Domestic abuse survivor was ‘days from death’

Background Story

A male survivor of domestic violence said he was “10 days away from death” after he was repeatedly physically and psychologically abused by his girlfriend.

Alex Skeel, 22, was battered, stabbed, burned, denied food, forced to sleep on the floor and kept away from his family by Jordan Worth, also 22, before he was finally rescued by police last year.  Worth was jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to GBH with intent at Luton Crown Court.   Worth was given a further six-month sentence for coercive and controlling behaviour. Police said it was the first such conviction in the UK where the offender was female.

The couple had known each other since they were 16, but during the last nine months of their relationship, Skeel said Worth subjected him to a “sustained and prolonged” campaign of abuse. “I thought my limbs might have to be amputated,” he told the Daily Mail. “I had open burns. I lost three stones in weight. I went from 10 stones down to seven. It was awful. It was three years of mental abuse and then it turned physical.” He added “I was infected from the burns pretty much all over my body. Luckily they managed to treat it.”

Skeel said he suffered four years of mental abuse and “the physical violence happened for about nine months”.
Despite his injuries, Mr Skeel said he returned to the home he shared with Worth. It was only after the intervention of a police officer, who persuaded him to reveal what was really happening, that he felt able to tell the truth.  “I want to tell my story. I don’t want one more person to suffer what I’ve gone through,” he said. “The hospital told me I was 10 days away from death. I believe the reason I survived to tell my story is to help others going through a similar ordeal.

“I would urge anyone in the same situation to ask for help. Bedfordshire Police were fantastic and I do believe they saved my life.”
Speaking after the conviction earlier this week, Detective Chief Inspector Jerry Waite said: “We are thrilled with this conviction. The sentence handed down reflects the gravity with which these offences are viewed.

“Coercive control is subtle – it isn’t always obvious what’s been happening and may escalate over a period of time. The victim may not immediately recognise the behaviour as abuse. The desire to control often underpins abusive relationships and can lead to violence.”

 If you are being subjected to domestic violence and are in immediate danger, call 999.
Your personal safety is of paramount importance.
For more information and advice: www.mensadviceline.org.uk, www.womensaid.org.uk


Psychological/Emotional Abuse

Psychological abuse can have a damaging effect on an individual. It is a form of mistreatment in which there is intent to cause mental or emotional pain. It includes controlling and manipulative behaviour. Skeel said that on one occasion Worth told him her mother had received a message saying his grandfather had died. After watching him break down and cry for two hours, he said she told him it was not true and berated him for caring about his family.

What impact can psychological abuse have on an individual? What are the signs that could indicate an individual is suffering from psychological abuse? What actions would indicate that psychological abuse is taking place? 


Gender in Domestic Violence

Many male victims of these crimes never come forward to report them to the police. This can be for a variety of reasons, including fear that their masculinity may appear to be diminished if they report domestic abuse. ‘Mankind Initiative’, a charity who supports male victims of domestic abuse,  report that male victims (39%) are over three times as likely as women (12%) not to tell anyone about the partner abuse they are suffering from.

Why do you think victims chose not to come forward and report domestic violence? What are your opinions on the difference in figures between men and women who do not come forward? Why do you think men are less likely to come forward?


The Impact of Abuse on Health

Skeel was subjected to sustained and prolonged abuse. On one occasion, he said he woke up after Worth had beaten him on the head with a beer bottle. Then, he said, she chased him and hit him on the hands and face with a hammer. Police were eventually alerted to his situation by a neighbour who heard shouts coming from the couple’s home. Ambulance staff took Skeel to hospital with injuries to his hand and burns on his arms and legs. The court heard Worth had thrown boiling water over him. He lost three stone in weight and was told he was “10 days away from death”. In 2016/17, 82 women and 13 men were killed by a partner or former partner.

What impact can abuse such as this have on the human body? What impact can physical and psychological abuse have on an individual’s physical health and wellbeing?


Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a category of abuse under the Care Act 2014. There is no single crime of ‘domestic abuse’, however there are a number of different types of abuse which take place which can be an offence. These could include assault, grievous bodily harm, harassment or sexual assault. Worth was found guilty and sentenced to seven years and six months imprisonment. The government are also set to introduce a new domestic abuse bill which aims to bring the change needed to support survivors. ‘ManKind Initiative’ report, for every three victims of domestic abuse, two will be female and one will be male. One in four women and one in six to seven men suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime.

What support networks are available for victims of domestic violence? What are your opinions on the figures shown for victims of domestic violence?

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