WITH domestic abuse victims, people on the outside often ask 'Why doesn't she/he just leave him/her?' but that is a reductive view of a complex situation.

People who remain in relationships which are abusive often simply cannot see a way out. Sometimes that's because their tormentor has made them feel that they do not deserve any better than the miserable relationship in which they exist, and has isolated them from the friends and family who would want to help them. In some cases, the abuser repeatedly promises to treat their victim better and, because of that initial bond at the start of the relationship, they give them chance after chance to improve. This is especially the case when the couple has children and there is a reluctance to break up the family.

This week we've seen 42-year-old Paul Hitchings jailed for 26 months after putting his now ex-partner through hell, and the victim's family and friends supported her as she escaped from his clutches.

That is one of the key points: she was given help by those close to her. If you suspect someone is a victim of domestic abuse, don't ask 'Why don't they just leave?', ask 'How can I help?'