The gripping domestic violence storyline currently unfolding on radio show The Archers has prompted a rise in calls to a helpline run by Women’s Aid and Refuge. Official figures show that 6,774 calls were received in February 2016, compared with 5,783 in 2015 – a rise of 17 per cent.
The Archers storyline tells the tale of wife and mother Helen Titchener and her controlling husband Rob. The story has progressed to the point where Helen is now seeing a psychiatrist after Rob hit her when she desperately lashed out at him.
Chief executive of charity Women’s Aid Polly Neate said the show has helped to change perceptions of domestic abuse by revealing just how this type of behaviour isn’t always immediately apparent, according to the Guardian.
“The experience on The Archers is very typical,” she was quoted as saying. “A lot of the time women don’t realise they are being controlled until they are hit by the fear. Suddenly they get a glimpse into what might happen to them if they break that person’s control, and suddenly it becomes very real and it is really obvious then that they are in grave danger.”
Towards the end of February, Refuge revealed that an Archers listener actually set up a JustGiving page to help raise money for domestic abuse victims, inspired by Helen’s storyline. As of February 29th, some £60,000 had been raised, with all proceeds going straight to Refuge as donations.
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