‘My ex-partner burnt me with boiling water’

By Janine HindleBBC News, Lancashire

BBC Key Crawford wearing a white t shirt with piercing on a lip standing in front of a stone wall next to a windowBBC

Key Crawford suffered abuse and coercive control in previous relationships before getting help at The Wish Centre

A woman who got burnt with boiling water and hit by her ex-partner has said a local domestic abuse charity saved her life.

Key Crawford, 34, has been helped by The Wish Centre in Blackburn, which runs a refuge and offers counselling.

She is one of many survivors in the borough who seek help there, with the local organisation reporting a 200% increase in demand for its mental health support.

Ms Crawford said: “If [Wish] wasn’t here for me then I wouldn’t be here.”

She has experienced domestic abuse and coercive control in previous relationships and told BBC Radio Lancashire: “I didn’t cook pasta right so I got burnt with the water because I’d done it wrong.

“If I ever answered back I’d get hit, things like that constantly.

“I had to do everything right.”

‘Felt suffocated’

She said an ex-partner strangled her after she found messages on his computer to another woman.

Ms Crawford said: “This is when I actually thought I was going to die.

“I did pass out and then I came back to and I ran downstairs and I locked myself in the bathroom.

“I heard him banging on the door and then he booted the door in and sort of fell into the bath and that’s when I ran and I never looked back.”

In another relationship, her partner put trackers on her phone.

“If I’d go out and spend £5 in a shop I’d get questioned and he’d get mad about all of that,” she said.

“I felt suffocated like I couldn’t breathe, yet I was still thinking the whole time this must all be normal.”

Rebekah Wilson wearing a striped top standing next to a wish centre sign in their office building

Rebekah Wilson from the Wish Centre says it provides a “safe space” for survivors

Ms Crawford, who has since been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD), has seen a counsellor and said that help changed things forever.

“I’ve always said the Wish Centre saved my life,” she said.

“If they weren’t here for me then I wouldn’t be here.”

Wish said there had been a sharp increase in demand for its services since 2018.

The centre was set up in 1988 for women in the borough and in 2014 extended its offering to also include male victims and perpetrators.

The charity is using a National Lottery grant to employ a counselling co-ordinator, mental health independent domestic violence advocate (IDVA) and a wellbeing practitioner.

The roles are all based in the Blackburn centre, which training manager Rebekah Wilson feels is important.

She said: “[Survivors] are already in a safe space.

“The natural progression to a Wish counsellor is very comfortable, or it’s more comfortable than it could be had they been referred in to another service.

“I think they trust us by that stage.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this story you can visit BBC Action Line.

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