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Jahmene Douglas: 'I can’t watch domestic violence happen’

AMBASSADOR: Jahmene Douglas has donated proceeds of his album sales to supporting domestic violence

X FACTOR runner up Jahmene Douglas is raising more money to help those dealing with domestic violence.

Still riding high with his number one debut album Love Never Dies, the 23-year-old Swindon-born singer has spoken openly about the “living hell” that was his childhood at the hands of a violent father.

Last month, the ambassador for national charity Women’s Aid announced that he would be donating a percentage of the profits from his debut album to the charity.

“As long as I can pay the bills... that’s all I need to be able to afford. I’ve been around refuges and can’t just sit back and watch that happen and not do anything because I’ve been through it myself,” he said in a recent interview with Premier Christian Radio.

“Domestic violence is something I dealt with all the way through my childhood...and it wasn’t a small thing, it was a major thing. But the way it was dealt with by the just wasn’t funded properly.”

According to Women’s Aid, two women in the UK are killed by their current or ex-partners each week, and one in four will experience domestic violence. But less than 40 per cent of domestic violence crime is reported to the police.

Activists say the problem is that domestic violence is still seen as a taboo.

Leanne Higgins, 24, a professional qualified youth and community Worker from east London, set up Deal with D.V in 2012 after she experienced a violent relationship.

Higgins said: “I always wanted to work with young people. But it was when I went through domestic myself at the age of 22, that I realised it was something I had to do.

"As I researched, I discovered it had happened to me when I was a lot younger, but I hadn’t seen the signs.

TAKING A STAND: Leanne Higgins has set up her own organisation

"My previous relationships were all controlling...It’s only because in my last relationship where I got black eye and bruises that I knew it was violence.”

She had known her ex-partner from the age of 13. “The first of our two-year relationship was perfect,” Higgins told The Voice.

“After that it all went pear-shaped and he would go from punching walls to hitting me and getting worse and worse and worse…It was hard to break out of the relationship as he got on very well with all my family and friends…so when I tried to leave he had people on his side to try and get me back into the relationship.”

Higgins wants to change the way young people think about relationships, domestic violence and abuse while empowering and inspiring young victims to become survivors.

She added: “He got really abusive to the point where one time I got beaten back and blue for 45 minutes. I called the police and even had the police install an alarm inside my house, but he continued to stalk me.”

Higgins said that during this time she “didn’t really have any support” because no one believed her. This inspired her to start up the organisation and has since been nominated for both the Stephen Lawrence Women’s Awards 2013 and Women Mentoring Women Award 2013.

She said: “When it first happened, I withdrew myself from my friends and family as I felt that I couldn’t trust anyone. I went to counselling and realised that it was nobody’s fault and if I buried my head in the sand then nothing would be solved. Someone needs to make a stand and I want to be that person.”

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