A MOTHER who survived an abusive relationship hopes to support other victims by sharing her story in a national awareness campaign.

Gemma Muncaster, from County Durham, has built a new life for herself and her two sons after her ex-partner left her isolated, bankrupt and caused her serious injuries.

Ms Muncaster credits her career with beauty company Avon with helping her to gain the confidence to escape and rebuild her life.

She now features in the beauty giant’s #EmbraceTheChange campaign, which coincides with the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence from November 25 to December 10.

The campaign aims to shine a light on different forms of non-physical abuse experienced by women around the world, including digital harassment, coercive control and emotional abuse.

Ms Muncaster, who is in her thirties, hopes by featuring in a film for Avon’s campaign she can help other women recognize and escape abuse.

She said: “I was excited to meet a man who took care of me and my two sons. But a pattern of controlling and belittling behaviour rapidly deteriorated into a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. It left me isolated, bankrupt and vulnerable to further abuse.

“The first time he was physically violent, I left him and moved out with my sons. That was when I started working for Avon. The opportunity helped to improve my confidence and independence not just by having a company car and a good salary but through the relationships I was building.

"When my ex found out, he slit his wrists and sent me a video telling me it was my fault. I agreed to give him a second chance– the biggest mistake of my life.

"A few months later he tried to cut my throat. I used every ounce of fight in me to kick him off and press the panic alarm the police had fitted. The next morning, I was informed that he had killed himself.”

Four years on, Gemma and her sons are safe and well and she is proud to support #EmbraceTheChange.

“Abuse is not always a hit, punch or slap, but it is always wrong. It took every ounce of strength in me to deal with my abusive boyfriend, but I am so proud to now be able to help other women who are suffering,” she said.

For 24 hour support call the National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808-2000247.