The BBC Action Line service received 1,350 calls about domestic abuse during 2016, with a further 24,400 visiting BBC web pages on the topic the broadcaster has announced.
Action Line offers “information and support for issues covered in our recent programmes”. Viewers are invited to phone in following dramas and documentaries highlighting sensitive and potentially upsetting subjects, and those that do are directed to relevant charities and support services. The Action Line website even includes a function allowing readers to quickly hide the page from family members who may react badly to the discovery of the visit.
The biggest response followed a long-running storyline on rural drama The Archers, featuring the domestic abuse of character Helen Titchener by her husband Rob, her retaliation and eventual acquittal of attempted murder. The story attracted 635 calls to Action Line the BBC reports – nearly three times as many as any other storyline over the last four years.
Actress Louiza Patikas, who portrays Helen in the veteran radio soap, said:
“The BBC Action Line is so important, both for victims of abuse and for the people who support them, so they have somewhere to go for advice and help.”
BBC Action Line service originally opened in 1995. It received in excess of 24,000 calls during 2016.