Mel B reveals she 'wouldn't call the police' over domestic violence

‘I don’t know if I can trust them’: Mel B reveals she ‘wouldn’t call the police’ over domestic violence – after being in an ‘abusive’ marriage for 10 years

  • For free and confidential support, connect to a Women’s Aid support worker via their instant messaging service at 

Singer Mel B has said she would not report domestic abuse because she does not know if she can ‘trust the police’.

The Spice Girl, 47, who is a patron of Women’s Aid and campaigns with the charity on domestic abuse issues, urged the Government to reform ‘the whole entire system’ of justice.

She has previously spoken about being in an abusive relationship with ex husband Stephen Belafonte – something which he has always vehemently denied.

Mel B, whose real name is Melanie Brown, told BBC Newsnight – which airs on Wednesday night – that officers need education on the ‘tell-tale signs’ that someone is in an abusive relationship.

She said: ‘I wouldn’t (call the police), because I wouldn’t know if they would take it seriously.’ 

‘Like if I’m living here and I want to report it to the police, I don’t know if I can trust the police. I don’t know if they’re going to take my allegations seriously,’

‘I don’t know if I can trust them’: Mel B has said she would not call the police to report domestic abuse because it might not be taken ‘seriously’

Ex: She became a campaigner for domestic abuse victims after leaving what she described as an abusive relationship with Stephen Belafonte

She also said: ‘It’s just your average person who just wants to be loved and cared for.’

The singer added that ‘younger and younger’ people are experiencing domestic abuse including ‘kids as soon as they start some kind of intimate relationship’.

In her interview with broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, she also called the issue an ‘epidemic’ and said that the work of statisticians allowed victims to ‘openly talk’.

Domestic violence statistics

  • According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), police in England and Wales made 31.3 arrests per 100 domestic abuse reports in the year ending March 2022, a decrease from 32.6 in the previous year
  • The 41 forces also referred 67,063 domestic abuse cases in 2022/2021 over a similar time period to be charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a decrease compared to the year ending March 2021 which saw 77,812 cases referred
  • The CPS increased its charging rate for domestic abuse cases to 72.7% in the year ending March 2022, which is the highest since March 2018 (75.9%)
  • According to the charity NSPCC, police in England and Wales made an average 669 child protection referrals a day to social services in 2020/21 which was an 8% increase to the same time period over the previous year

She said: ‘When I brought my book out, nobody wanted to talk about it. It was like a taboo topic. It was something that everybody knows about but nobody talks about it.

‘It’s just your average person who just wants to be loved and cared for’

MailOnline have contacted the Metropolitan Police, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Women’s Aid for comment.

It comes after Mel urged Sir Keir Starmer to make tackling domestic violence one of his ‘national missions’ if he becomes prime minister.

The Labour leader said he would make the issue a priority after being grilled by the Spice Girl, a survivor of domestic abuse who is campaigning for change.

Sir Keir said a ‘powerful strand’ within his pledge to ‘make Britain’s streets safe’ is tackling violence against women and girls.

He unveiled five missions last week to improve the nation, including securing high sustained growth and building an NHS fit for the future.

But Mel B, sitting alongside Sir Keir at a Woman’s Aid panel, demanded that he adds a sixth mission: tackling domestic violence.

‘If you’re going to talk about your five main things you have to add another one on that is specifically domestic abuse,’ she said.

As the audience laughed at her sustained questioning, she said: ‘You may well laugh but I’m being b**ody serious.

‘It needs to be a standalone thing that we get educated on from the ground up, inside out.’

Sir Keir said he ‘absolutely will make it a priority’ if he is prime minister, but did not commit to a sixth national mission.

He said ‘end-to-end change’ is needed and ‘tinkering around the edges isn’t going to make a difference’.

Mel B, a patron of the Women’s Aid charity, described herself as a ‘big fan’ of Sir Keir’s and expressed confidence that he will win the next general election.

But she warned him: ‘Keir, I’m holding you to everything. I will come after you, I will.

‘For every survivor and everybody’s voice out there that can’t be heard I am their voice – so watch out. Because I really do like you.’

In May 2022, Mel B also dedicated her MBE for services to charitable causes and vulnerable women to ‘all the other women’ who are dealing with domestic violence. 

Speaking out: Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire, Mel described domestic abuse as an ‘epidemic’ and praised those who collected statistics on it which allows victims to ‘openly talk’

Mel B said police need better education about spotting ‘tell-tale signs’ and added: ‘I wouldn’t [call the police], because I wouldn’t know if they would take it seriously

It comes after Mel spoke out about ‘facing her fears’ after being in a ‘horrible and abusive’ marriage for 10 years.

The pop star said she was looking for a fresh start after leaving the relationship and filing for divorce from her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte in 2017.

During the season premiere of Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test last month, Mel said she had been living in fear and hoped the programme’s endurance course would help her regain her own power.

Stephen has always vehemently denied he was abusive during the marriage.

During a confessional, Mel said: ‘I ended up being in a very horrible abusive 10 year relationship. I felt worthless, you feel helpless. I’m facing huge fears.’

Explaining her hopes for the series, she continued: ‘I’m just going to bring out that inner person that I hope isn’t dead and gone.’

Early last year, Mel B candidly detailed living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, five years after ending her marriage to Stephen.

Key mission: Mel has urged Sir Keir Starmer, 60, to make tackling domestic violence one of his ‘national missions’ if he becomes prime minister (pictured together at this week’s Woman’s Aid panel )

Turbulent relationship: Mel and Stephen secretly married in 2007 and split in 2017 (pictured in 2012) 

The singer split from Stephen, 47, in 2017 and claimed he had emotionally and physically abused her during their 10-year marriage – which he denies.

Mel said while some of the memories are so painful her mind has blocked them out, she still suffers from terrible flashbacks that jolt her awake in the night, drenching her in ‘shame, sweat and fear’.

She told The Sun: ‘Nearly five years on I still wake up in the early hours with terrifying fragments of sounds and images flitting into my brain, things I’ve tried to block float to the surface — things that can still make me feel drenched in shame, sweat and fear.’

The Loose Women star talked about how she turned to drugs during her marriage ‘to block out the torment and guilt’.

‘I’d been through so much and sunk so low that my self-esteem was zero, being isolated from my family, I had no one to confide in so I turned to drink and drugs to dull my pain,’ she said.

‘I was completely out of it when I was videoed having sex – one of the most humiliating things that I endured in my abusive relationship.’

Well-deserved: Mel B received her MBE for services to domestic violence victims from Prince William at Buckingham Palace in May

Mel said how during the marriage she continued ‘to put on a front as if everything is OK’ in the hope if she pretended, they would ‘enjoy a ­normal, loving ­relationship’.

The Spice Girl star said she finds it ‘very disturbing’ she has ‘no clear memory’ of an incident her daughter described to her ghost writer, due to her PTSD blocking out the trauma.

Stephen contacted domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid in a bid to get them to drop her as their patron.

The film producer, 47, contacted the organisation and told them she was lying about the being a victim of abuse.

He told the Private Talk With Alexis Texas podcast: ‘I said, “Hey, Melanie is clearly telling you lies. Don’t believe me, I have all of the proof from forensic accountants right before we went to court”.’

However, Stephen told the podcast host Alexis that the charity refused to engage with him.

Spice Girls singer Melanie has been a patron for Woman’s Aid since 2018 after she left was she claims was an abusive relationship, something Stephen strongly denies.

A Women’s Aid spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘If contacted by an alleged perpetrator of domestic abuse, we refer them onto Respect, a national charity which has expertise in working with domestic abuse perpetrators, that we work closely with.’

Mel and Stephen secretly married in 2007 and split in 2017.

They share one daughter, Madison Brown Belafonte, 11 – and Mel has two children from previous relationships: Phoenix Chi Gulzar, 24, who she shares with ex husband Jimmy Gulzar and Angel Iris Murphy Brown, 15, who she co-parents with Eddie Murphy.

The mother-of-three claimed she was financially abused during her marriage to Stephen, having no access to her own money.

Mel admitted while she is renowned for being ‘confident and outspoken as Scary Spice’ – and despite feeling ‘at home’ on stage, she believed many may have viewed her as the last person to feel ‘totally trapped and alone’ in her marriage. 

Bold: Mel, known as Scary Spice, rose to fame as a member of the Spice Girls in the nineties (pictured on stage at The BRIT Awards in 1997)

Powerful: Last year, the singer starred in a short film exploring domestic violence through dance

And it was when writing her book Brutally Honest, Mel discovered ‘to my horror what my daughter Phoenix, 22, had witnessed’.

The Spice Girl star said she finds it ‘very disturbing’ she has ‘no clear memory’ of an incident her daughter described to her ghost writer, due to her PTSD blocking out the trauma.

She added: ‘Knowing what my daughter saw kills me’. 

Watch the full Newsnight interview on BBC iPlayer on Wednesday night.

For free and confidential support, connect to a Women’s Aid support worker via their instant messaging service at 

What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. 

People with PTSD often suffer nightmares and flashbacks to the traumatic event and can experience insomnia and an inability to concentrate.    

Symptoms are often severe enough to have a serious impact on the person’s day-to-day life, and can emerge straight after the traumatic event or years later. 

PTSD is thought to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience, and was first documented in the First World War in soldiers with shell shock.

People who are worried they have PTSD should visit their GP, who could recommend a course of psychotherapy or anti-depressants. 

Combat Stress operate a 24-hour helpline for veterans, which can be reached on 0800 138 1619.  

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