Women’s Aid statement on Sunday’s episode of ‘The Archers’

Monday 4th April 2016

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“Last night’s episode of The Archers illustrated very effectively the torment that Helen was experiencing, and how terrified she was for herself and for her son. We do not know whether Rob is dead, but we do know that no matter what happens from this point, it is vital that Helen is believed by her family, the community and the police about the abuse she has suffered. Rob is highly manipulative, and has convinced many people he is a good, loving man, while simultaneously questioning Helen’s mental stability. This is very typical of what can happen in an abusive relationship, and can mean that the victim is portrayed by her abuser as unstable and an unfit mother.

“Some listeners have expressed their belief that the events of last night are not realistic – and it is true that a victim of domestic abuse attacking the perpetrator is far less common than the other way around. Two women a week, on average, are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. However, some abused women do attack their partners after experiencing long-term abuse – often when they are fearing for their life or the lives of their children.  We need to remember the terrible abuse that Helen has been living with for a long time – the prison that Rob has built around her, the stripping of her freedoms, the mental torment. Helen’s experience is very realistic, and Women’s Aid has made sure of this by advising The Archers team on the development of this storyline.”

“We hope for Helen’s sake that she has the support and understanding she desperately needs from her community in Ambridge over the coming weeks – and from the police, who no doubt will soon be at her door.”

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Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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