BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Archers’ – Domestic Abuse Story

the archersA long running BBC Radio 4 show has experienced high praise for their recent story line surrounding the character of Helen and her experience with an abusive husband. The show has carefully tackled the issues of domestic and emotional abuse.

Louiza Patikas, who plays Helen, has described the complexities of such a relationship and how her understanding of domestic abuse has altered. Louiza elaborates by discussing how her character wants to believe that her husband can change and hopes that the relationship will return to what it once was. She explores how her characters self-confidence depreciates due to the manipulations to the extent that she is now unable to trust even her own judgement. Her character is constantly exhausted by worries, always thinking before she speaks and is convinced that nobody would believe her if she did find the strength to speak out about her abuse.

“Helen’s self-confidence has been so vandalised by Rob’s manipulations that she no longer trusts her own judgment” – Louiza Patikas, 1/4/16 for ‘The Guardian’

The story has resonated further than originally anticipated and has led to a JustGiving page ( being set up with donations going to women’s shelter Refuge. So far fans of ‘The Archers’ have raised more than £90,000 for the domestic abuse charity. Domestic abuse is a non-discriminatory crime with women, children and men all experiencing different levels of abuse in Britain, but what ‘The Archers’ has managed to do is focus on the psychological abuse any can experience as well as the physical.

2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner(Office of National Statistics, 2015) and this story line has helped highlight this fact, as well as providing exposure to an area in general that impacts many individuals regardless of race, gender or financial background, which in turn will benefit from further publicity and funding.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, tributes an “Archers Effect” with helping to raise awareness that domestic abuse affects all sorts of people: 6,774 calls were made to the national domestic abuse helpline (0808 2000 247 run in partnership with Refuge Charity) in February, an increase of 17% in a year.


Footnote: If you are in an abusive relationship and requires an urgent response or needs in-depth support please contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247, the Men’s Advice Helpline on 0808 801 0327 or The National LGBT Helpline(Broken Rainbow) on 0300 999 5428.

You could also find support organisations using our ONLINE DIRECTORY