“The first time Sharon’s* partner hospitalised her was on her birthday. About a year into their relationship, after a gradual escalation of “little things”, he punched and kicked her until he broke her arm. “He made me get into the van with him and drove me to hospital,” she says. “He sat with me the whole time I was there, so I couldn’t say anything.”
Over the next 18 months, Sharon was in and out of A&E with more injuries, including a second break to her arm – but she couldn’t bring herself to admit what had happened. “I didn’t say anything, I wouldn’t even speak,” she says.
But hospital staff were concerned and Sharon was referred to Punita Bassi, an independent domestic violence adviser (IDVA) based at the Bristol Royal infirmary (BRI). “The hospital picked up on it,” Sharon says. “I think the physio realised I hadn’t tripped over the dog or fallen up the stairs like I said I had.”