A domestic violence survivor whose partner threatened to ‘beat her baby out’ has set up a support group to help other victims – and it’s already saved 20 lives.
Amy King, 32, from Totnes, Devon, and her unborn child were lucky to survive after a series of horrific attacks by her ex-partner Jack Farley.
She was subjected to a 17-month reign of terror at the hands of the thug, including one sick attack where he violently told her to get rid of their baby.
Farley, 25, was sentenced to 21 months in prison in May this year – but only served four.
Amy King, 32, from Totnes, Devon, was lucky to survive and keep her baby after a series of horrific attacks by her ex-partner Jack Farley
Now mother-of-four Amy has decided to use her harrowing experience to devote her life to helping others who find themselves in a similar situation.
Through her group – the Domestic Violence Personnel Unit – Amy has already helped around 9,000 people around the globe – and saved more than 20 lives.
Amy also runs a separate suicide support group on Facebook.
She said: ‘Both domestic violence and suicide are close to me. I endured months of hell with a monster and was then let down majorly by the justice system.
‘My ex-partner pleaded guilty to a string of attacks, even when I was pregnant, and he was only sentenced to 21 months in prison.
Jack Farley, 25, was sentenced to 21 months in prison in May this year – but only served four
‘He then only served four months. That was all he got for 17 months of domestic violence and a year of stalking.
‘When I told him I was pregnant he threatened to beat our baby out of me. When we were together he smashed 21 televisions in my house in seven months.
‘I kept replacing them to hide it from the kids. He would do it when they were away at their dad’s. He would say, “No face no case”. He didn’t believe in witnesses.
‘I kept them sheltered from it until the very last when he threw the Calpol bottle at my head in front of the kids while I was pregnant. That was it for me and I reported him to the police.’
Amy was subjected to a 17-month reign of terror at the hands of the thug including during one attack when he told her violently get rid of her baby. Pictured: the wounds inflicted after one of the many attacks by her ex-partner Farley
Although Amy has four children, two live with their father due to the domestic violence she suffered. She says it is losing them that reduced her to an all-time low.
She recalled: ‘I have lost family members through suicide, and when I lost two of my kids I felt that low that I thought my only option was to jump in front of a train.
‘I had lost everything. I spiralled down the path thinking I had no one, so no one would miss me.
‘Although I was pregnant at the time and I was the victim, I felt like I was being treated like a criminal. I was where these people are that call us for help – I was lost.
‘What stopped me was something my disabled daughter said. Until that moment I hadn’t thought how ending my life would affect others. It hit hard me hard.’
On the domestic violence side, Amy says it is both men and women who are reaching out for help. Pictured: injuries inflicted on Amy by Farley
Although Amy has four children, two live with their father due to the domestic violence she suffered. Pictured: an injury inflicted by Farley
The suicide support unit has 600 followers and she and her volunteers have spoken to 21 people who had been intent on ending their lives.
Among those she has helped was a man who was moments away from death, claiming he was going to set himself alight.
After a telephone conversation with Amy, he is now getting the help he needs.
What are the warning signs of domestic abuse?
Forensic criminologist Dr Jane Monckton-Smith, of the University of Gloucestershire, says abusive relationships will start like a normal one, but always get very intense quickly.
She explained: ‘Perhaps they would declare love very, very quickly.
‘This can be interpreted as love and perhaps it is but sometimes people will try to move in with you very, very quickly. If somebody’s looking to live with you within weeks I would see that as a red flag.’
Sometimes abuse can begin when there is a big life change for the couple the relationship can become abusive, such as if the woman gets pregnant.
She explained: ‘Sometimes if there’s a pregnancy suddenly the attention isn’t on the abuser enough and they feel their needs are not being met so that can definitely be a trigger.’
Dr Monckton-Smith also said that subtle control tactics like asking you to stop seeing friends or wanting to spend every moment with you can be a sign of abuse.
The grateful man said: ‘I had been going through a really hard time. I got to the end of my tether and I was about to end my life.
‘I’d had enough of the fight, and then my phone pinged and the app for DVPU came up with its number.
‘I really couldn’t believe it. I rang the number, left a message and within seconds I got a call back and spoke with Amy.
‘She really brought me down from my bad place and saved me from the brink of death.’
The support service offers help over the phone and Amy has also provided emergency support in person on six occasions.
She admitted: ‘It’s continuous for me. Every night I get between three and four calls.
‘I have had to set up two business lines so I can answer all calls with the help of 16 volunteers in Devon.
‘We get calls from everywhere, even Texas. I find the time because I’m an insomniac.
‘I just don’t sleep, so doing this occupies me and had I not been there for some people I think the outcome for them would have been different.’
On the domestic violence side, Amy says it is both men and women who are reaching out for help.
She said: ‘What I hear puts your life in perspective because you realise that there are people worse off.’
For confidential support, log on to samaritans.org or call the Samaritans on 116123.