Search

Westminster domestic violence champion receives national ‘survivor’ award

08:00 03 December 2012

Sharon Bryan, right, is congratulated by TV star Alesha Dixon after winning Woman Survivor of the Year at the annual Empowering Women Awards

Sharon Bryan, right, is congratulated by TV star Alesha Dixon after winning Woman Survivor of the Year at the annual Empowering Women Awards

Archant

A woman who overcame her own domestic violence ordeal to spend her days helping other victims in Westminster has been recognised with a national award.

Sharon Bryan, who has worked as a domestic violence consultant for Westminster City Council since 2009, was named Woman Survivor of the Year at the annual Empowering Women Awards in the same week as the UN’s international day for eliminating violence against women, known as White Ribbon Day.

Her award also came as Westminster Council unveiled a new dedicated domestic violence court, which will fast-track and exclusively hear such cases - something for which Mrs Bryan has actively lobbied for the past eight years.

She was abused by her ex-husband for four years before finding the courage to leave and forge a new life for herself and her daughter.

She told the Wood & Vale that a domestic violence court would have made a “massive” difference in her case.

“I actually left my former husband and he was sent to prison for two months initially for breaking an injunction,” she said, “but that was a civil court. When he came out he broke into my home and he hid in the cupboard, and when I came back he jumped out and stabbed me.”

Mrs Bryan has worked in the domestic violence support sector ever since, driven by a desire to spare other women from the same cycles of abuse. She has used her personal experience to drive her work, saying: “I never want another woman to feel as lonely as I did.”

But Mrs Bryan’s experiences are far from rare.

“It is very much more common than people think, especially in places like Westminster,” she said. “I have had people say to me, ‘Surely you are not very busy?’ People don’t think of Westminster as the kind of place where this happens. They have a stereotypical woman in mind who lives in a council house and is on benefits, but it is not like that.

“It is very much under-reported. What we do know is that one in three women will experience domestic violence. Two women per week are killed by their husbands or partners in England.”

Saying she was “honoured” at receiving the award, Mrs Bryan said: “The abuse and feelings of loneliness I experienced will stay with me as long as I live, and when you’re in that situation it’s incredibly difficult to see a way out.

“From the moment I left that relationship and broke the cycle of abuse, I was determined to help other women in a similar situation to find the courage to leave, and to realise they deserve a better life for themselves and their children. It has been incredibly rewarding to turn my experiences around and use them to help other people.”

Cllr Nickie Aiken, Westminster Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and community protection, called Mrs Bryan “a true inspiration to our family recovery and domestic abuse teams” who has “made a huge impact on our domestic abuse support work”.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

35 minutes ago

The London Fire Brigade hosed down the car just outside a disabled parking bay in a residential street

Yesterday, 17:25

Anger over the proposed cycle-superhighway CS-11 has fuelled calls for Hampstead to become an independent parish council, granting the area planning powers separate from Camden.

Yesterday, 16:31

The breakfast supervisor, who worked for the chain since 1996, has also received a written apology after being ‘bullied and harassed’

Yesterday, 16:01

Change is afoot in Highgate as a consultation on a new Neighbourhood Plan opens

Yesterday, 15:03

Hampstead High Street and Muswell Hill Broadway could lose their Maison Blanc stores under a review that has been launched into the high-end patisserie chain.

Yesterday, 07:00

Crime campaigners fear gang warfare is spilling onto the leafy streets of Hampstead and Belsize Park after two shootings and a knife attack this month.

Tue, 14:39

Staff will trace Lord Lauderdale’s steps on the journey he may have taken to visit his mistress before Lauderdale House opens once more

Tue, 12:12

The mixed pond on Hampstead Heath will be ‘women only’ for two weeks in October after management confirmed the ladies’ pond will close so that work can be carried out.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Interested in purchasing a flat and want to know the rules, rights and regulations as a leaseholder? Or maybe you are already a leaseholder and want to find out more about extending your lease?

Scores of people visited the opening of Composite Door Master’s first public showroom in Hayes at the weekend, where they were treated to a spectacular show by award winning magician, Marc Oberon.

You’ve got cash, you’ve got style and you’ve got a bursting social calendar, but no time. These Crouch End studio suites to rent could be your dream come true.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now