AS Cumbria Police launch a campaign to help the community spot the signs of domestic abuse, an Ulverston councillor has shared her first hand experience of a violent relationship to help other victims come forward.

Ulverston Town Councillor, Shirley-Anne Wilson, revealed she has suffered years of domestic abuse at the hands of a former partner.

Mrs Wilson said she changed from a ‘bright and bubbly’ person to a ‘withdrawn and depressed’ version of herself.

“I was in a very violent relationship for a long time and felt huge shame towards it,” she said.

“It took me 10 years to speak about what happened to me and realise there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Mrs Wilson said the abuse became so bad she ‘feared for her life’ at one point.

“He nearly killed me when I tried to get away,” she said.

“I found the psychological terror harder to tolerate than the violence.

“Bruises fade but emotional abuse stays in your head.”

Mrs Wilson described domestic violence as still ‘a very taboo subject’.

She said: “Domestic abuse is a very complex issue and happens behind closed doors but it is happening in our neighbourhoods and to people in our workplaces.

“We need to raise public awareness and encourage people who are suffering to come forward.

“There is help out there and agencies work together to support people who are experiencing domestic abuse.”

Mrs Wilson’s story comes as Cumbria Police and the Cumbria Safeguarding Adult Board launch their campaign to help spot the signs of someone suffering from domestic abuse.

In the past year, police have recorded 7,402 incidents of domestic abuse in Cumbria.

Peter McCall, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “It is critical that we raise awareness of all the services in Cumbria for people suffering from domestic abuse and also for the wider victims such as friends, families and communities affected by this heinous crime.

“It is essential we tackle domestic abuse as early as possible to help prevent suffering.”