Cathy endured physical and mental domestic violence from the age of 16 for three years and again at 30. As a result of her experience being an ambassador to Refuge is a cause she can fully understand.

Cathy supports and will hopefully be an inspiration to women who are going through or have come out of an abusive relationship.  In her eyes, Refuge is a remarkable charity and needs to be more supported by the public and government.  As an ambassador, Cathy is helping campaign for more public awareness of the extent and seriousness of the problem.

Domestic Violence is a major social problem with devastating consequences.

  • One woman in four experiences domestic violence at some point in her life.
  • Two women are killed each week by a current or former partner.
  • Domestic violence accounts for almost a quarter of all reported violent crime.
  • In over 50% of known domestic violence cases, children were also directly abused.
  • 30% of domestic violence starts or escalates during pregnancy.
  • In 90% of domestic violence incidents children are in the same or next room.
  • On average a woman will be assaulted by her partner or ex-partner 35 times before reporting it to the police.

Domestic violence does not only come in a physical form, it can be mental abuse and also the devastating affects it has on children who witness abuse.

Refuge’s work is invaluable to many thousands of women and children it supports each year. Too many of us still believe the myths surrounding domestic violence: that it only happens in deprived areas, among the unemployed, or where there is alcohol or drugs. Women are blamed, saying she probably asked for it. Every one of us must examine our attitude towards domestic violence and be educated on the scale and seriousness of the domestic violence.

Refuge opened the world’s first refuge in 1971 in Chiswick, London. It was a time when people rarely talked about domestic violence, when what went on behind closed doors was considered private and no one else’s business. Women and children flocked to the first safe house and for the first time, a clear message had been sent out that domestic violence was not something to be quietly endured or ignored. What had gone on for centuries behind closed doors was at last brought out into the open. Their aim is to provide a range of services and a voice against domestic violence for abused women and children

Refuge’s mission:

Refuge is committed to a world where domestic violence is not tolerated and where women and children can live in safety. Refuge’s ethos is about empowerment. In everything they do they encourage and support women and children to regain control of their lives and move forwards in a positive way. For 40 years Refuge has led a campaign to end domestic violence. They have been calling for domestic violence to be made a public policy priority and have worked hard to ensure that the government takes the problem seriously. Refuge believes there is no single solution to domestic violence and campaigns for a three-tiered approach to tackling abuse:

Provision: Providing high quality services to women and children – from a national helpline to places of safety, from community-based initiatives to counselling to encourage and supporting women and children to regain control of their lives and move forwards in a positive way.

Prevention: Helping prevent domestic violence through campaigning, education, training and research. We work in partnership with other agencies to raise awareness of domestic violence, its causes and solutions.

Protection: Advocating changes, improvements and the implementation of legislation and encouraging other agencies to develop best practice services and consistent approaches to meet the needs of women and children experiencing domestic violence.

Every woman and child has the right to live in safety

Mental Health Foundation is a brilliant charity which Cathy supports and hopefully be an inspiration to and help anyone who is going through or have had mental worries, she is helping campaign for more public awareness and understanding to any mental health issues.

Mental Health affects us all. How we think and feel about ourselves and our lives impacts on our behaviour and how we cope in tough times.

The Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day: Call 08457 90 90 90

It affects our ability to make the most of the opportunities that come our way and play a full part amongst our family, workplace, community and friends. It’s also closely linked with our physical health.

Whether we call it well-being, emotional welfare or mental health, it’s key to living a fulfilling life. Being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a mental health problem. Mental health is everyone’s business. We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass. But sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us. Everyone is different. You may bounce back from a setback while someone else may feel weighed down by it for a long time. Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life. There’s a stigma attached to mental health problems. This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don’t talk about them much. Many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about their feelings. But it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling.

Mental health problems are very common. About a quarter of the population experience some kind of mental health problem in any one year. Anxiety and depression are the most common problems, with around 1 in 10 people affected at any one time. Between one and two in every 100 people experience a severe mental illness, such as bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia, and have periods when they lose touch with reality.

The facts and figures around Mental Health in the UK are alarming.

  • 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
  • Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
  • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men
  • About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time
  • Depression affects 1 in 5 older people
  • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
  • Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
  • Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder


We are committed to reducing the suffering caused by mental ill health and to help everyone lead mentally healthier lives.

We help people to survive, recover from and prevent mental health problems. We do this by:

  • carrying out research
  • developing practical solutions for better mental health services
  • campaigning to reduce stigma and discrimination
  • promoting better mental health for us all.

We work across all age ranges and all aspects of mental health. We are the charity for everyone’s mental wellbeing – whatever their condition or circumstance.

Research and practical evaluation lie at the heart of everything we do. This evidence-based approach helps us to recognise the key issues affecting the nation’s mental health and wellbeing. We use this knowledge to:

  • improve policy and practice in mental health
  • campaign to raise awareness and remove stigma
  • provide high quality advice and information to help people better manage their mental health and wellbeing
  • provide practical solutions to improve the quality and access to mental health services in the UK.