Coronation Street is to explore the disturbing effects of coercive control relationships in an upcoming storyline with Geoff Metcalfe and Yasmeen Nazir.
“We were pleased to be able to work with the scriptwriters and advise on the development of the coercive control storyline. This form of abuse was only established as a criminal offence in 2015 after years of campaigning, and it is important that we increase awareness and understanding of this form of domestic abuse. Many people think that unless there is physical abuse, it doesn’t count. Coercive control underpins almost all abusive relationships, and Geoff has established himself at the centre of Yasmeen’s life, and manipulated her in so many ways, controlling what she can and can’t do. She is doubting her own judgement and memories. Gradually we are seeing the long term effects of living with an abusive partner, as she sees less of her family and friends and becomes increasingly isolated.” – Teresa Parker, Head of Media Relations & Communications at Women’s Aid
Of late viewers have seen Geoff’s behaviour towards Yasmeen become manipulative and controlling. In the coming weeks and months Geoff will escalate his controlling behaviour, even staging a robbery so he can be seen to protect Yasmeen, taking over her bank account and isolating her from friends and family. He will even set up CCTV equipment in order to watch her every move at the house.
As is often the case Yasmeen is unaware she is being controlled, and despite some concerns from Alya, Geoff is able to deceive those closest to her. Since 2015 this form of abuse has been classed as a criminal offence and underpins 95% of all abusive relationships.
“Independent Choices Greater Manchester applauds Coronation Street’s move to tackle the issue of coercive control and have provided support with this storyline. Our Domestic Abuse Helpline supported over 5000 victims of coercive control last year. We know, controlling and emotional abusive relationships have an extremely damaging impact on victims’ health and wellbeing. Victims all detail experiences of isolation, manipulation, threats and control by the perpetrator as illustrated by Geoff in this storyline. Coercive control needs to play a larger role in family violence cases , and we need significant progress after the law change. If any resident of Greater Manchester does feel that the behaviour they are facing in their relationship is coercive, I would encourage them to contact Greater Manchester Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525 for support.” – Emma Balfe, Manager of Independent Choices Greater Manchester
The show’s producers ITV Granada note that an estimated 1.2 million women experience domestic abuse every year in England and Wales while the CPS recorded 960 offences of coercive and controlling behaviour where a prosecution commenced at magistrates’ courts in the year ending March 2018. Merseyside Police domestic abuse data found that 95% of coercive control victims were women and 74% of perpetrators were men.
A study found that 95 out of 100 domestic abuse survivors reported experiencing coercive control while only 59 Offenders were found guilty and sentenced for engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship in England and Wales in 2016 and only 7 Offenders were found guilty and sentenced for engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship across Greater Manchester in 2016.
“It’s common for people to think abusive behaviour has to be physical – but you can damage someone profoundly without laying a finger on them. Many thousands of people feel trapped in relationships with someone who claims to love them but who is actually taking them apart piece by piece, isolating them from friends and family and locking them in an invisible prison of fear and insecurity. Often, the abusive behaviours accumulate and intensify over time so that you don’t realise it’s happening – it’s an insidious type of brainwashing. I hope this story will help anyone going through similar experiences in the real world by highlighting that feeling undermined, belittled, controlled or intimidated by your partner is never okay. The old “sticks and stones” adage is just plain wrong – words can be instruments of torture and manipulation.” – Coronation Street producer Iain Macleod
Coronation Street have worked closely with two organisations on this storyline – Women’s Aid and Independent Choices Greater Manchester.