Arts and Entertainment

The Archers- increasing awareness of domestic abuse

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Image: Derek Voller [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Archers storyline of the domestic abuse of Helen Titchener at the hands of her husband Rob has gained widespread news coverage over the past few days as the story came to a startling climax.

The Archers is seen by some as a lighthearted farming drama with some listeners not wanting the domestic abuse storyline to continue with the fear it was turning into Eastenders.

Although some listeners may have been skeptical the overwhelming response has been positive with listeners raising over £100,000 for domestic abuse charities.

The continuation of this hard hitting and intense storyline has been linked to the increase of calls to domestic abuse hotlines according to the chief executive of Woman’s Aid Polly Neate:

From February last year to February this year we saw a 20% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which we think is in part down to the ‘Archers’ effect.

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, said of the show earlier this week:

The much talked-about Archers storyline has brought about an unprecedented public focus on domestic violence in the UK. It’s important that our programmes can tackle difficult issues – and the public seem to agree.

The charities Woman’s Aid and Refuge have worked alongside the writers and performers to enable the storyline to be truthful and realistic.

Paul Trueman, a listener, even set up a Justgiving page to encourage listeners to donate to Refuge stating that:

for every fictional Helen, there are real ones.

Editor of The Archers Sean O’Conner writes about the storyline in his BBC blog.

I spoke to a long time listener of the show, Victoria Gallimore, about how she responded to the storyline:

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