Pop star Melanie Brown has opened up about her experience with domestic abuse and her reluctance to report it to the police. In an interview with BBC Newsnight, she said she would only do so if the government reformed the justice system.
The singer, formerly known as Scary Spice of the Spice Girls, became a patron for domestic violence charity Women’s Aid in 2018. She explained that she was concerned that the police would not take her allegations seriously.
“I wouldn’t [call the police], because I wouldn’t know if they would take it seriously,” she said. “Like if I’m living here and I want to report it to the police, I don’t know if I can trust the police. I don’t know if they’re going to take my allegations seriously.”
Ms Brown received an MBE for services to charitable causes and vulnerable women last year, and dedicated her award to “all the other women” dealing with domestic violence. She also spoke at a Conservative party conference in October to appeal for more support for domestic abuse victims.
The latest crime survey for England and Wales shows that nearly 2.5 million people – 1.7 million women and almost 700,000 men – experienced domestic abuse in the year to March 2022. Data from 2015 suggests that 41% of teenage girls in intimate relationships have experienced some form of sexual violence from their partner.
Ms Brown described domestic abuse as an “epidemic” and praised those who collected statistics on it which allows victims to “openly talk” about it. She said it was impacting “younger and younger” people, including children as soon as they start some kind of intimate relationship.
“It’s just your average person who just wants to be loved and cared for,” she added.
Melanie Brown has highlighted the need for better education of police officers in spotting “tell-tale signs” of domestic abuse, as well as a reform of the justice system. She has also called attention to the prevalence of domestic abuse, particularly among young people, and praised those who have collected data on it which allows victims to speak out. If you have been affected by domestic abuse or controlling behaviour, help and support is available via the BBC Action Line.