Campaigner praises The Archers for domestic abuse storyline

A North East domestic violence campaigner has praised The Archers for its storyline which culminated in the soap's first murder.
Timothy Watson and Louiza Patikas as Rob and Helen Titchener.Timothy Watson and Louiza Patikas as Rob and Helen Titchener.
Timothy Watson and Louiza Patikas as Rob and Helen Titchener.

Millions of listeners heard Helen Titchener stab abusive husband Rob in front of young son Henry in Sunday night’s edition of the Radio 4 show.

Wearside Women in Need co-ordinator Claire Phillipson said the series had succeeded in highlighting the way abusive partners use psychological means to control their victims.

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“It has done an absolutely great job in getting across the message that domestic violence is much more than just physical,” she said.

“Psychological control over the victim is absolutely critical. That’s why when people say ‘Why doesn’t she just leave him?’, it’s not as simple as that. In real life, this would have gone on for a decade or so.

“Coercive control is so subtle and so hidden from other people – maybe this will help people to understand a bit better.

“There is still so much victim blaming going on – if it is realistic, Helen will go to prison for murder for at least 15 years, because that is what would happen in real life.”

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The storyline has coincided with the introduction of a new offence of coercive controlling behaviour, which criminalises extreme psychological and emotional abuse which falls short of physical violence.

Following Sunday night’s episode, a flood of listeners donated to The Helen Titchener Fund - a JustGiving page set up to raise money for the domestic violence charity Refuge.

More than £91,000 has been raised so far. To donate, visit the JustGiving page HERE.