Martine McCutcheon reflects on traumatic childhood abuse

Martine McCutcheon has opened up about her traumatic childhood as she talked about Mel B's restraining order against estranged husband Stephen Belafonte on Wednesday's Loose Women. The former EastEnders actress revealed that she and her mother, Jenny Tomlin, experienced domestic abuse by the hands of her father. She told the panel: "My mum was a career woman, very educated, and even though she made the choice to get away from my dad, it took years, it took nine years."

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The 40-year-old explained how her mother had to have panic buttons installed after her father, Thomas Hemmings, refused to leave them alone. "We had panic buttons. In the end, I would call the police when I was four years old and they would keep me on the phone while what was going on was going on downstairs," she shared. "And guess what, by the time the police arrive it 'hadn't happened', so they couldn't convict him of anything."

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Praising her mother's bravery, the star said she believes men can sometimes use children as a "weapon". She confessed: "Sometimes these men do use children as a weapon. My mum was so strong and brave. It's a really scary decision to make, but women are dying of domestic abuse every week. They have to have a plan. These men are bullies and they're obsessed. It's all a calculated move."

Martine McCutcheon appeared on Loose Women to talk about domestic abuse

Last year, the Love Actually star gave a candid insight into her family's life. She revealed that her mother grew up in a violent household herself and had experienced abuse from her own father. Claiming her parents bonded as "two broken damaged souls", Martine said: "My mum mistook his obsession for love, drugs and drink were involved with him and he would do the most terrible things and he wouldn't remember what he had done. He'd be so sorry to begin with. I would see this happen and once I was started to be affected by it, physically by my dad and being used as a weapon against my mum."