Safe Girl Security has joined forces with Anna Lisa Larke – the former girlfriend and victim of disgraced TV celebrity Justin Lee Collins – to help raise awareness about the effects of psychological abuse and domestic violence in the home.
Both are supporting Women’s Aid in the ‘Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign’, which seeks to introduce new changes to close gaps in the law around domestic violence which allow perpetrators to avoid prosecution for their abusive behaviour.
Currently, two women a week die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner in the UK.
Women’s Aid is working in partnership with the Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation and Paladin to campaign for a new law that criminalises domestic violence.
It is a subject close to the heart for Safe Girl founder Andrea Clark who was in an abusive relationship herself.
She set up her company Safe Girl – which sells fashion-conscious alarms and gadgets to help women, teens and children feel safer on the streets – just before falling into her abusive relationship.
“Safe Girl is all about making women – from girls and teens to OAPs – feel safer both on the streets and in their own home,” said Clark. “We are happy to work closely with Anna Lisa Larke to raise awareness on this very important issue.”
In her case, Clark was unable to gain prosecution for her abuser after reporting the various incidents of physical and emotional harm too late. Despite facial beatings, slashed wrists and other injuries, it was only after the relationship ended that she finally went to the police. By then, it was too late to prosecute.
To add insult to injury, after almost 18 months of torment, she ended up being cautioned by police for harassing her abuser, just through trying to highlight the effects of her abuse. She has learnt that this is very often the case, when the abuser seeks to ‘silence’ their victim.
Larke was successful in her case against former lover Justin Lee Collins, the former star of late night TV show The Friday Night Project with Alan Carr. In 2012, Collins was eventually convicted of harassment causing fear of violence.
She said: “Since my case became public it has highlighted the behaviour that is going on inside thousands of homes. I’ve had countless emails from women and men saying how they were able to relate to the various types of abuse I suffered. This, in turn, gave them the boost they needed to leave their abusive relationships.”
Larke added: “Anything I can do to support Women’s Aid and help strengthen the laws surrounding domestic violence is an extremely worthwhile cause. Safe Girl is doing great things in making women feel safer on the streets, and through this partnership, we can help them feel safer inside the home too.”
Both feel there is an urgent need to factor in emotional and psychological damage – as well as physical violence – into cases of domestic violence too. In a recent survey, 88% said the criminal justice system didn’t take psychological harm into account and 94% felt that mental cruelty can sometimes be worse than physical violence.
“It is high time for the criminal justice system to take into account the effects of verbal, psychological and emotional harm, which is often more painful than any physical injuries,” said Clark. Through her blogs online, she now highlights the often secretive nature of domestic violence in the home, and the clever ways abusers are able to keep their victims silent.
She added: “The worst part for me was the daily emotional abuse I suffered, rather than the physical violence” she said. “The insidious nature of this kind of abuse can be all encompassing, engulfing body, mind and spirit, until the abuser has almost total control over their victim. My goal now is to empower women to stand up for themselves and to be more aware of the dangers they face both on the streets and behind closed doors.”
Safe Girl Security