If you have been following BBC Radio 4’s The Archers over the last six months you will have seen a story of coercion and control unfold between Helen Titchener (Louiza Patikas) and Rob Titchener (Timothy Watson). While Rob’s coercion of Helen was unseen by the rest of Ambridge, Helen’s best friend Kirsty had concerns but she couldn’t find a way to raise the alarm. When Helen told Rob she wanted to leave, he reacted angrily and their argument led to Helen stabbing him in front of her 5-year-old son Henry. Rob’s injuries were almost fatal but he recovered.

Helen was charged with attempted murder. On day 3 of the trial, Helen gave evidence and finally spoke the words that Rob had raped her “over and over again.”  Helen was found not guilty. While on remand Helen gave birth to their son. Helen named him Jack Anthony Archer but Rob calls him Gideon Titchener.

Rob’s time with Jack was reduced from twice a week to once a month in a supervised setting, after he was psychologically assessed. The psychologist recommended the change to the contact “due to the level of risk of emotional and psychological harm which Mr Titchener poses”.  

Catch up on BBC I Player as the story develops:

2/1/17 : “I’m fine mum, the contact sessions are going to be so much easier than when they were here [at my house]….”

Helen and her mum discuss Rob’s first session at the contact centre 

6/1/17 : “it was perfectly nice – like a very small school I suppose…tables, toys, activities – they had really made an effort to make it welcoming and the staff I met were seemed very friendly… I’d rather it wasn’t happening at all, but once a month is so much better than twice a week… “

Helen visits the contact centre – baby Jack’s first visit is on Sunday. 

8/1/17: “Jack’s my priority now, I don’t want anything to jeopardise my contact’

Jack’s first visit to the supervised centre to spend time with Jack  Goto 9:40 to check out what happens.

12/1/17: “I’m really starting to feel free at last”…Helen is feeling a sense of release from Rob’s control as she doesn’t have to see him at the contact centre.

Kirsty and Helen chat about Rob not contesting the divorce, but Helen is not worried – using a contact centre seems to have been a good decision in many ways…  Goto 4:10 to check out what happens.

Related links

BBC The Archers: The trial of Helen Titchener

BBC The Archers: Helen and Rob, the full story

The Guardian article (September 2016) regarding The Archers Helen Titchener and domestic abuse

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