Mel B hails launch of payments for women fleeing violent partners as life-saver

Mel B has hailed the launch of payments for women fleeing violent partners as a life-saver.

The 47-year-old Spice Girl – who has claimed she was in an abusive relationship with her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte, also 46, and who is now a patron of Women’s Aid campaigns – said it was a “great day” to see the £300,000 fund going into action.

Declaring the cash would be the “difference between life and death” for many women, she told The Sun newspaper: “Today is a great day – our voices have been heard.

"Thank you so much to the readers of The Sun for backing this important campaign.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman last month announced the money as part of a pilot scheme to help women in England and Wales.

From Tuesday (09.05.23), abuse survivors can apply for £250 cash or voucher payments of £500 if they have children through the charity Women’s Aid, which can be used to help with staples such as food, nappies, clothes or even rent.

Mel previously told The Sun about being in her allegedly abusive relationship: “All I knew was that my life was in pieces, I was isolated from my family and friends, I had zero self-confidence and had been pushed to the brink of suicide because of this man who I believed would love me.

“Finally I was heard, I was believed and I spoke my truth… staying silent keeps things the same, and abuse thrives in silence.

“While I am still surviving the long-term effects of abuse, which includes PTSD and the outdated attitudes of the family courts, I am proud to be a woman who is here for other women and other survivors of domestic abuse.”

The singer also told BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’ she doesn’t think she trusts police enough to report domestic abuse.

She added: “I wouldn’t (call police), because I wouldn’t know if they would take it (domestic abuse) seriously.

“Like, if I’m living here and I want to report it to the police, I don’t know if I can trust the police. I don’t know if they’re going to take my allegations seriously.”

The mum-of-three – who had daughter Madison, 11, with her ex Stephen, and has Phoenix, 23, with her ex Jimmy Gulzar and Angel, 16, with Eddie Murphy – warned “younger and younger” people are becoming trapped in abusive relationships as “kids” are now being more intimate earlier.

Mel also branded the issue of domestic violence an “epidemic” in her chat.

She split from film producer Stephen in 2017 and claimed he had emotionally and physically abused her during their 10-year marriage – which he has strongly denied.