'Horrific reality' of domestic abuse exposed by disturbing photo

'Sinister' image of domestic assault scene shows wooden staircase with sharp knives impaled on either side of each step

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The Independent Online

A disturbing image has exposed what campaigners have described as the "horrific reality" of domestic abuse affecting victims in the UK.

The photograph, posted by a Metropolitan Police officer who said it was the scene of a domestic assault, shows a wooden staircase with sharp knives impaled on either side of each step.

Several mysterious coloured note cards lay strewn across the stairs, along with what appears to be a bullet.

Inspector Rowlands said, who posted the photo on Twitter, said it was taken by a colleague and that the alleged male perpetrator had been arrested and charged.

“A few weeks back a colleague of mine went to a domestic assault and found this when he entered. Male arrested and charged. Life saved,” he wrote.

The officer later described it as "an image that raises the awareness of domestic violence and how much more is needed to be done."

Scores of people on Twitter responded to the image expressing their shock, with one writing: "That is completely terrifying. Poor poor woman", while another simply said: "That is utterly sinister".

Polly Neate, chief cxecutive of Women’s Aid said: “What this chilling picture shows is the real threat to life that domestic abuse is. The knives represent that threat. They say, very clearly: 'If you try to leave, I will hurt you'. This is why many women are unable to leave – for fear for their life or their children’s lives.

"The Femicide Census proved that women are at significant risk at the point of separation from an abusive partner. Seventy-six per cent of women killed by their ex-partner or ex-spouse between 2009 and 2015 were killed within the first year that followed their separation.

"This picture is a snapshot of the horrific reality of domestic abuse. We hope it raises awareness of the barriers facing survivors who want to flee. If people ask ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ – show them this picture.”