Chantelle Atkins (Jessica Plummer) is set to meet a tragic end at the hands of abuser Gray (Toby-Alexander Smith) in EastEnders.
The character will attempt to escape from her abusive husband in scenes which viewers will see both this week and next, as she sets in motion a divorce.
However, it was revealed on Sunday (September 6) that Chantelle will ultimately be killed in a tragic conclusion to the story.
Speaking about why it’s important for the story to end in such a way, actor Toby-Alexander Smith — who plays Gray — said: ‘It’s certainly going to be a shock for the audience and I think that it is important that it concludes in such a tragic way.
‘So we’re encouraging women to speak out before that does happen because sadly it is happening. And it’s happening more and more frequently.
‘And the importance of this storyline is to give the women courage to speak out and to know that people are listening and to know that there are services out there to help.
‘As shocking as it is to watch hopefully it will give the survivors out there the courage to reach out and get help.
EastEnders domestic violence – get support
Two thirds of women who were experiencing abuse from their partner/ex-partner in June told a Women’s Aid study that their abuser had started using lockdown restrictions or the Covid-19 virus and its consequences as part of the abuse. (66.7% of those answering question – Women’s Aid Survivor Survey, June 2020).
At the height of lockdown over three quarters of women living with an abuser said they felt they could not leave or get away because of the pandemic. (78.6% of those answering question – Women’s Aid Survivor Survey, April 2020).
You can get support and information from Women’s Aid by visiting the website or contacting the free instant messaging service.
You can get support and information from Refuge – which holds a comprehensive and detailed guide to seeking help on the website.
‘I hope it will encourage conversations and let survivors out there know that people are listening. I hope it gives them the courage to speak out. We’ve all heard stories during lockdown of statistics rising, and I hope this storyline will spark a lot of conversation.
‘It’s not just the fact that Gray kills Chantelle, it’s all the other little incidents along the way, I think we’ve covered the whole of that spectrum, that not one single bit of his behaviour has been acceptable.
‘I just hope that anyone experiencing any sort of behaviour like that will talk about it and relate to it. I’ve already been told by Women’s Aid that people have contacted them and said I think my friend is in a similar situation to the Gray and Chantelle situation in EastEnders.’
One to watch: Friday September 18 at 8:30pm on BBC One.
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