Thursday 22 February 2018

Danniella Westbrook tells refuge women she can 'identify with addict side'

Danniella Westbrook called for better funding for women's refuges
Danniella Westbrook called for better funding for women's refuges

Danniella Westbrook has said she "can identify with the addict side of things" as she reported from inside a women's refuge for victims of domestic violence.

Westbrook called for better funding for women's refuges around the UK as she fronted a BBC2 short film aired on Victoria Derbyshire's morning segment.

In the film, Westbrook visits a refuge and talks to two women, Anita and Anna (not their real names), who are both living in the refuge.

Their words were spoken by someone else in the film to protect their identities.

In the segment, an emotional Westbrook listens to Anna, who recounts her abusive relationship of 10 years.

"I got woken up by a head butt straight into my face," she tells Westbrook. She goes on to say "he was my addiction".

Westbrook has spoken openly about her very public battle with cocaine addiction.

She said: "I can identify with the addict side of things. I can totally identify with that and what we do and who we become to get closer to our drug of choice."

The 41-year-old former EastEnders actress relapsed in 2014 after being clean for many years, following the breakdown of her marriage.

Talking to Derbyshire as a studio guest she said: "My marriage broke down through no fault of my own and I was in a place that I was absolutely devastated... I went back to what I knew, I self- medicated... and that's what these people, who are in these relationships, do... it's like the drugs, they end up controlling your life. It's very sad, but it is what it is and we all have our addictions one way or another."

When asked by Derbyshire about when she "last took cocaine", she said: "I'm here to talk about domestic violence, I'm not here to talk about taking cocaine. But I haven't taken cocaine for while."

Statistics reported by Derbyshire showed that 350 refuges exist in the UK, but over the last four years, 32 have closed down and others are under threat.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "Domestic abuse is a completely devastating and unacceptable crime, which is why we maintain a strong safety net for its victims. This year we committed over £3 million to specialist accommodation for victims, including refuges, and that builds on the £10 million we already committed in March."

Press Association

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