Julie Walters praises Coronation Street and EastEnders for raising awareness of domestic abuse

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 25 November 2020
Dame Julie Walters

Dame Julie Walters

Dame Julie Walters, a patron of charity Women's Aid, has praised 'Coronation Street' and 'EastEnders' for raising awareness of domestic abuse this year, and revealed how one woman realised she had been a victim of coercive control for nearly 50 years while watching Corrie's plot

Dame Julie Walters has praised 'Coronation Street' and 'EastEnders' for raising awareness of domestic abuse this year.

The 70-year-old acting legend is a patron of Women's Aid, a charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children who have teamed up with both soaps on hard-hitting plots.

And the 'Billy Elliot' star has revealed one woman realised she had been a victim of coercive control for nearly 50 years while watching Corrie's evil Geoff Metcalfe (Ian Bartholomew) abusing his wife Yasmeen Metcalfe (Shelley King).

Julie said: "This year has seen incredible moments of raising awareness about domestic abuse, with both 'Coronation Street' and 'EastEnders' working with us on major TV storylines that have started conversations around the country.

"One email said a woman was reaching out to Women’s Aid after being married for nearly 50 years, as she had watched the Geoff and Yasmeen storyline in 'Coronation Street' and realised coercive control counted as abuse."

Julie also admitted that while the death of 'EastEnders' character Chantelle Atkins (Jessica Plummer) made for "traumatic" viewing for many viewers, it sadly "reflected reality" for many others.

In a piece for The Sun newspaper on the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women today (25.11.20), she wrote: "Watching Chantelle being killed on screen by her husband Gray in 'EastEnders' was traumatic for many viewers but reflected the reality that the most dangerous time is the point when you try to leave, when the abuser loses power and control."

Toby Alexander-Smith plays Chantelle's abusive husband and killer, Gray Atkins, and he recently admitted teaming up with Women’s Aid and Refuge on the storyline was "invaluable".

He said: "We hope that Chantelle’s story gives people the courage to speak out before it’s too late and to know that there are services out there to help.

"Working with Women’s Aid and Refuge has been invaluable in understanding the mindset of an abuser and the awful realities of abusive relationships."