Domestic abuse charity: Johnny Depp libel verdict sends powerful message

Domestic abuse charity Refuge has said it hopes the verdict in the Johnny Depp libel trial sends “a very powerful message” and added it “stands in solidarity” with his ex-wife Amber Heard.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean actor sued The Sun newspaper’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an article which labelled him a “wife beater”.

Mr Justice Nicol dismissed his claim, saying NGN had proved what was in the article to be “substantially true”.

Amber Heard
Amber Heard said she feared for her life (Yui Mok/PA)

During the trial Ms Heard made claims of brutal violence and the judge found that 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence relied on by NGN did occur.

The judge found that Mr Depp put Ms Heard “in fear of her life” during what the actress described as a “three-day hostage situation” in Australia in March 2015, as well as on the Eastern and Oriental Express in South East Asia that August and again in LA in December of the same year.

Following the verdict, Lisa King, of domestic violence charity Refuge, said: “This is an important ruling and one which we hope sends a very powerful message: Every single survivor of domestic abuse should be listened to and should be heard.

“No survivor should ever have her voice silenced.

If you’re scared of your partner Refuge’s expert Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline team can offer non-judgmental support at a time that’s safe for you: https://t.co/zT0hdkqacd#SafetyInANumberpic.twitter.com/pMIlZeMSKv

— Refuge (@RefugeCharity) March 28, 2020

“A common tactic used by perpetrators of domestic abuse is to repeatedly tell victims that no one will believe them –  and to use power and control to try and silence them.

“What we have seen today is that power, fame and financial resources cannot be used to silence women.

“That is a welcome message for survivors of domestic abuse around the world.

“We stand in solidarity with Amber Heard who has shown immense bravery in speaking up and speaking out.

“One in four women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime – it is the most pressing issue facing women and girls.

“Domestic abuse is a crime and it is vital that it is treated with the seriousness it deserves.

“If you need support Refuge is here for you. We will believe you and you will be heard. You can call us free, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247, or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk. You are not alone.”

Nicki Norman, acting chief executive at domestic violence charity Women’s Aid, said: “The allegations of domestic abuse against Johnny Depp were extremely serious.

“Everyone who has experienced domestic abuse deserves to be listened to and believed.

“This also applies to survivors who do not fit the image of the ‘perfect’ victim – and regardless of the high profile of the alleged abuser.

“There is no excuse for domestic abuse.”

Support and information is available at www.womensaid.org.uk.

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