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Emmerdale announces domestic abuse plot for Belle and Tom King

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Emmerdale announces domestic abuse plot for Belle and Tom King

Emmerdale is set to depict Belle and Tom King’s controlling and abusive marital relationship.

Eden Taylor Draper and James Chase portray the newly married couple, who have just returned from their honeymoon. However, it is evident that their relationship is far from perfect.

On the night of her wedding, Belle already questioned her decision and is now struggling to understand what a normal relationship should look like. Tom is exhibiting clear signs of coercive control, and there are concerns that this could escalate into both physical and mental abuse.

Unfortunately, Belle is likely to keep this troubling aspect of their relationship hidden from her loved ones, as is often the case in such situations.

Producer Laura Shaw explains:

“Soaps are in the extraordinary position of being able to highlight what happens behind the public face of an abusive relationship, over a longer period of time. The audience knows these characters so well, sometimes as well as they might know their own friends and family and they care deeply about them. As harrowing as it can be to watch this type of storyline play out, it’s imperative that we use our platform to shine a light on domestic abuse, and help give a voice to people who have so often been silenced.”

The research conducted by the show in collaboration with external partners has revealed a concerning trend. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in cases of Tech Abuse, wherein individuals employ various technological means like trackers and concealed cameras to manipulate and monitor their partners.

So before long the character of Tom will start using different methods of technology to assert his control and surveillance over Belle.

Eden Taylor Draper who plays Belle said: 

“When we first heard from the producers the way the Tom and Belle relationship story was going to go, we were fully aware of the responsibility that would bring. But it is an important story to tell. Soaps offer the viewer a glimpse of life behind closed doors and reveal what people present to the world isn’t always a truth. The sad reality is that behaviour like this in a relationship is all too prevalent. I hope we do this story justice. And if people are in a situation like this they should definitely get help.”

Throughout the research process, the show has worked with a domestic abuse charity, New Beginnings Peer Support.

The charity’s CEO, Lindsay Olive, said:

“As an after-crisis service we see the longevity of the trauma resulting from domestic abuse and firmly believe preventative measures are key. We therefore, very much welcome Emmerdale covering this storyline to highlight the realities of domestic abuse, red flags within a relationship and the challenges of leaving. Domestic abuse remains a hidden pandemic and the more information in the public domain to increase awareness, the higher the chance of perpetrator behaviour being recognised and victims gaining the support they require.”

Emma Pickering, Head of Technology-Facilitated Abuse and Economic Empowerment at Refuge, added: “Refuge is pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the writers and producers of Emmerdale, to develop the storyline between Tom and Belle and show viewers the sad realities of domestic abuse. The show will be exploring the multi-faceted and complex nature of domestic abuse, with various manifestations of abuse, including coercive control, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and technology-facilitated abuse, all set to be displayed by Tom over the coming weeks.”

Emmerdale, Monday-Friday at 7.30pm on ITV1 and STV


Anyone experiencing similar issues to that discussed in this article can access free and confidential support from Refuge’s 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 and digital support via live chat Monday-Friday 3-10pm via www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk.

You can also visit the the tech safety website https://refugetechsafety.org/ to learn more about technology-facilitated abuse.”

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