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Monday
Mar012010

Spotlight on male victims of domestic abuse

A support group is claiming that a man dies every three weeks in the UK because of domestic violence.

Those who suffer abuse are now being urged to seek help as part of a nationwide awareness week.

Ian McNicholl told Sky News he had been trapped in a terrifying violent relationship.

He described how his former partner, Michelle Williamson, squirted bleach in his eyes, forced lit cigarettes up his nose and burnt his arms with a hot iron.

She also smashed his shoulder with a hammer with such ferocity that the handle snapped.

"It gets worse without you realising," he explained.

"You can't seem to think for yourself or separate fact from fiction. You just want to keep her happy by complying and keeping her happy.

"As bizarre as it sounds, I still loved her."

As Mr McNicholl found himself on the brink of committing suicide, a concerned neighbour alerted the police and his 10-month ordeal came to an end.

In April 2009, Williamson was sentenced at Grimsby Crown Court to serve a total of 18 years in prison.

Mr McNicholl is now slowly rebuilding his life and is about to have reconstructive surgery on his fractured eye sockets.

He told Sky News: "The fear of repercussions certainly stops people from reporting things.

"At one stage I was walking into the same newsagent with a new black eye or injury every day. Nobody said or did anything."

A new TV advert will be part of a week-long awareness campaign.

Dr Steve Connor from the National Centre for Domestic Violence said: "As a man, it can be difficult to admit that you are being abused.

"As the advert points out, a man might feel ashamed, embarrassed or worried that he may be considered less of a man by speaking out against his abuser."

The NCDV can be contacted via http://www.ncdv.org.uk/, telephone 0844 8044 999 or text "NCDV" to 60777.

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