Victoria Derbyshire opens up about living with a violent father

·2-min read

Victoria Derbyshire has said she faced some “really difficult times” during childhood while living with her violent father.

The presenter said she once had to contact the police over one of his outbursts.

In a video clip filmed for BBC Panorama: Escaping My Abuser outside her childhood home in Littleborough, Rochdale, Derbyshire said: “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.

“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’.”

She added that following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s stay-at-home orders at the beginning of the lockdown “one of my first thoughts was, ‘So, what if you are living in a house with a violent partner?'”

She added: “Because you would be literally trapped.”

In an article for the BBC news website, Derbyshire said that when she heard her father’s key in the door “I remember my whole body tensing”.

“What mood would he be in when he came home from work?

“Would he provoke an argument?” she added.

Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards 2018 – London
(Isabel Infantes/PA)

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

She added that going to school while he was working “meant respite from the disruptive shouting and cruel violence”.

“The love in our lives came from my amazing mum who did everything she could to make up for his failings,” Derbyshire said.

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”.

In July the charity said the National Domestic Abuse Helpline had received more than 40,000 calls since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

Refuge’s telephone helpline, which ordinarily logs around 270 calls and contacts from women, friends and family members needing support every day, saw an increase of 77% during June.

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 is on BBC One on Monday at 7.30pm.