I’m A Celeb’s Victoria Derbyshire’s childhood with abusive dad and police visits

An award-winning journalist, I'm A Celeb contestant Victoria Derbyshire is a household name thanks to her fearless interview skills – using her platform to help those who need it the most.

Earlier this year, Victoria, 52, decided to investigate a subject that was close to her heart, presenting the BBC Panorama documentary Escaping My Abuser.

In the special, she discussed her own challenging childhood, living under the same roof as her emotionally and physically abusive father, in a bid to campaign against domestic violence in the UK.

Visiting her childhood home in Bury, she recalled the terror she had felt when her father would return to the house in the evenings.

Speaking out about the experience, she said: "I remember once, he locked my mum in their bedroom and he was hitting her and there was loads of noise and I was scared."

Fearing for her mother's safety, Victoria fled the house and ran to the nearest police station, desperate to intervene.

She said: "So I ran from here down to the police station which was, I don't know, maybe a mile or something?

"I was 12 or 13, I was so scared, I just ran to the police station, just ran in and said, ‘My dad's hitting my mum, please can you come'."

The police called around to the house, but once her dad opened the door, he convinced the officers there was nothing to worry about, and they left soon after.

As a young girl, Victoria, who was the eldest of three siblings, would dread the sound of her father's key in the lock as he returned from work each day.

Speaking to viewers in the documentary, she said: "What mood would he be in when he came home from work? Would he provoke an argument?

"Would it lead to him hitting me, whipping me with his belt, or just slapping me round the back of my head?"

Mum-of-two Victoria previously discussed her traumatic childhood in a 2014 interview with The Guardian, describing her dad as "aggressive" and "violent".

The TV personality even recalled adding Valium to his tea in an effort to prevent further outbursts, as she remembered "thinking that might calm him down and he may not start a row tonight".

Her mother eventually left her father and started a relationship with a new man when Victoria was 17, who went on to become her beloved stepfather.

Victoria is no longer in contact with her birth father, adding: "My attitude now is that I have no feelings towards him, because I don't want to waste any energy on him."

Now, Victoria is a proud mum to two boys of her own – Ollie, 16, and Joe, 13 – who she shares with her executive producer husband Mark Sandell.

While the presenter has put the past behind her, Victoria decided to produce the Panorama documentary following the worrying rise in cases of domestic violence during the first UK-wide lockdown.

The investigation found that two-thirds of women in abusive relationships have suffered more violence from their partners during the lockdown and pandemic.

Speaking out on the cause, she said: "So, what if you are living in a house with a violent partner? Because you would be literally trapped."

The documentary shed a light on the harrowing abuse experienced by thousands in the UK, with charities like Rescue and Women's Aid offering support to victims.

When Victoria announced she was taking part in this year's I'm A Celeb, a number of women's charities rushed to show their support for the BBC star.

On Twitter, the charity Solace wrote: "Supporting the wonderful Victoria Derbyshire going into the jungle tonight in I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

"She stands with survivors of domestic abuse so UK women let's all post #VotesForVic in solidarity and sisterhood."

Victoria's son Ollie, who has learned from his mum's compassion and bravery, replied on her behalf, saying: "Thank you so much I know this cause matters loads to my mum and she's proud to be a part of it."

For help or support, you can call the national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247, or visit Women's Aid.

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