TV Soaps feature domestic abuse
Domestic Abuse storylines in British Soaps
Two of UK’s best-known TV Shows are both currently tackling storylines around domestic abuse. EastEnders and Coronation Street have both been working with Women’s Aid on storylines surrounding different aspects of domestic abuse and coercive control.
Coronation Street’s storyline is showing coercive control between a couple and the Corrie script writer was determined to make sure the show showed the torture and damage of non-physical abuse. Their storyline shows Geoff Metcalfe attempt to control every aspect of Yasmeen Nazir’s life including taking control of her finances and manipulating her family and friends. Geoff is even seen staging a robbery in order to be able to install CCTV cameras into Yasmeen’s house so he can keep an eye on her all of the time.The aim of the Coronation Street storyline is to educate viewers on the“prison” created by controlling partners.
Coronation Street worked closely with Women’s Aid and Independent Choices Greater Manchester to create this storyline.
EastEnders are focusing their domestic abuse storyline on showing their viewers that all is not always what it seems and “happy couples”are not always “happy” behind closed doors. EastEnders newest husband and wife Chantelle and Gray Atkins are shown to be the “perfect” couple; many scenes show characters comment “what a great couple they are” etc. However, over the course of a week, viewers were shown scenes where Chantelle is seen looking at the clock and worried when she isn’t able to make an appointment with her husband. The next episode suddenly turns dark, when Gray attacks Chantelle over a joke made on Gray by her family. It is seen on a couple of occasions afterwards that when Chantelle’s family make fun or do something inappropriate to Gray, he takes his anger out on her; all of this occurs when their two children are not in the house. The main issue with this family is Gray does not get on at all with Chantelle’s father. This storyline has opened the eyes of many viewers and vast numbers have taken to social media to express their shock at the unfolding events.
The EastEnders cast and crew worked closely with Women’s Aid and Refuge in building this storyline.
RBWA welcomes television programmes that highlight the signs of domestic abuse and coercive control. The more people that are aware of what to look out for will help to save lives.