Domestic Abuse: A Survivor's Story.

Published on: Tuesday, 29th January 2019

Domestic abuse can take many forms – but a common theme running through a lot of them is that the victims very often suffer in silence.  For the best part of 15 years, Katie Royle suffered alone as the victim of an intensely coercive and controlling relationship.

Derbyshire Police are are always pleased to give details of those brought to justice for the crimes that they commit and always work hard to protect the identity of the victim.

However, on November 29th 2018, at Derby Crown Court, 55-year-old Richard Martin of Sandiacre, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the offence of ‘engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate/family relationship’.

Katie, his long-term partner and the victim of this crime, wanted to tell her story, so, after her enjoying her first Christmas with her children and close family members for many years, she sat with her mum and spoke to our Sergeant Ebony Lee to explain what the last 15 years has been like living with domestic abuse and how she broke the cycle.

What follows is a candid, open and honest re-telling of how her relationship started just like any other, but over time descended into one of mistrust, control, and virtual imprisonment.  In explaining her decision to speak about her experience, Katie said: “I wanted to give people, who may be going through the same thing, hope.

“To let them know that despite how desperate the situation may seem there are people who will help.  I want to raise awareness that domestic abuse is not all about violence, this offence is relatively new and recognises that this behaviour is not acceptable and should not be tolerated.

“To also thank the people who have helped me get out of the situation I was in and my family, who despite the fact that I was not allowed to see them for many years, are now so supportive.”

Here, we feature links to a short, three-part series covering the discussion Katie had with Sergeant Lee.

Please support her by watching:

Chapter One

Katie discusses how the relationship started and how it went from, what she initially thought was caring behaviour, to abuse.

(Apologies are offered for a reduction in sound quality around half way through and for around a minute.)

Chapter Two

Katie tells Ebony how she reached breaking point and knew she had to seek help. She describes a traumatic day and how the actions of the doctor, social care and the police helped her escape and bring her abuser to justice.

Chapter Three

After her former partner’s conviction, Katie and her mum describe the Christmas the family have all had together for the first time in many years.  Katie speaks to others who may be experiencing the same thing and offers help and advice and urges them to take action to get out of their situation.  Sergeant Ebony Lee also explains what support is available on reporting domestic abuse either to police, or to other organisations.

The following victim services are available for Derbyshire and Derby City. They can offer help around safety plans, the court process, Safe Houses (Refuges), counselling, advice centres and helplines:

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