Leading judge praises The Archers for highlighting domestic abuse issue

The UK’s most senior judge has thanked the makers of The Archers for highlighting a domestic abuse issue.

Lady Hale, president of the Supreme Court, said women were not just afraid of being hit by men.

She said they were also afraid of “more subtle” forms of behaviour which were featured in an Archers’ storyline in 2016.

The judge said she was “grateful to The Archers” for drawing attention to the problem of “coercive control”.

The Archers
The Archers’ storyline features an account of domestic violence involving fictional couple Rob Titchener and Helen Archer (Pete Dadds/BBC/PA)

Lady Hale mentioned the BBC Radio 4 soap opera in a lecture to lawyers in London called “Women in law – the next 100 years”.

She said domestic abuse could cover “a great many other types” of domineering and controlling behaviour than physical violence.

“Women are afraid of many more subtle forms of behaviour – the forms of behaviour which listeners to The Archers heard over many months in 2016 – cutting off contact with friends and family, constant belittling, destroying confidence, depriving of money and employment outside the home, rendering powerless,” she added.

“I am grateful to The Archers for drawing attention to the problem of what we now call coercive control.”

Supreme Court officials have published a transcript of the BACFI Denning Lecture delivered by Lady Hale on the Supreme Court website.

Lady Hale has mentioned The Archers’ storyline – an account of domestic violence involving fictional couple Rob Titchener and Helen Archer – before.

She referred to it in another lecture delivered nearly a year ago.

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