A domestic abuse victim and mother-of-two now working as a qualified hospital sister in Romford has returned after telling her story to a United Nations conference in New York.

Clare Raven, who works in neuro intensive care at Queen’s Hospital, was a UK delegate and speaker at the UN women’s ‘equal status’ conference representing the End Honour Killings campaign charity.

“I genuinely thought my life was over at points,” she told the conference. “I was manipulated into stopping my career, which led to fear, then violence.

“I was dependant on benefits but lost control of this, leaving me and my children without essentials. I often went without food, gas and electricity.”

Financial control is “a barrier for many women” trying to escape, Clare explained.

She endured years of abuse, isolated from friends and family, often severely bitten and suffering broken bones and being attacked with sharp weapons — even near-fatal strangulation and drownings.

“I couldn’t even get to a refuge or support line during years of abuse that my children also experienced,” Clare added. 

Clare had little awareness of support that the Refuge charity could have offered and given her and her children a safe place.

Her address to the UN conference was arranged through another charity, End Honour Killings, by its co-founder Nina Aouilk who was moved by her story of surviving an attempted ‘honour’ killing.

Clare’s journey to qualify as a nurse for the Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS hospital trust was difficult while trying to flee her abusive relationship — but she reached her goal, inspired by nurses who took care of her son Tommy when he was born prematurely. Tommy was in intensive care and the nurses inspired Clare with their dedication and compassion.

 “I was determined as a student to save my children and needed to be financially stable,” Clare recalls. Her daughter Kayli has followed in her footsteps and works with trauma victims.

Clare also trained for Sunday’s London Marathon (April 21) to raise funds for the Refuge charity for women and children in domestic violence.

One in four women experience some form of abuse in their lifetime but can get support from charities like Refuge or End Honour Killings.