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Home and Away’s producer on ‘harrowing’ domestic violence storyline

Home and Away has recently started airing an extremely sensitive storyline revolving around intimate partner violence and abuse.

Newcomer actress Juliet Godwin plays Bree Cameron, a character who is trapped in an abusive marriage with Jacob Cameron.

The creators tell us it’s necessary to “shed a light on societal challenges” and that the serial has never shied away from dealing with difficult topics.

Louise Bowes, the series script executive, was contacted by Yahoo Lifestyle to discuss how the authors tackled the sensitive subject, what they decided to exclude, and what Seven intends to accomplish.

Louise claims that it’s “essential” for the made-up community of Summer Bay to provoke discussion about actual issues.

She starts by saying, “It’s crucial that we not only amuse our audience but, when appropriate, deliver stories that shed light on societal issues. “To name a few, there are abuses enabled by technology, mental health issues, and addiction.

We hope to generate conversations in those viewers’ living rooms because of our unique opportunity to reach over a million viewers every night – just in Australia.

Sadly, the rate of intimate partner violence suffered by Australian women is high. In 2016, the Personal Safety Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that one in four Australian women have experienced intimate partner violence since age 15.

The script executive says that intimate partner violence and abuse is an ‘unfortunate reality’ in our society.

“For us, it’s all about using our characters to let those women know they’re not alone, and that help is available,” she says.

‘It was a pretty harrowing process’

Her writing team started by conducting research before beginning to tackle the delicate subject.

In addition to conducting a “deep dive” into the psychology of both victims and offenders, they also examined how police handled cases, the help that friends may provide, and the resources accessible to victims.

We “[intended to] not only provide a larger exploration of the topic, but possibly offer some answers as to where aid can be found,” says the author.

Before diving into first-person tales, the team first researched online sources, such as 1800RESPECT, NSW Police, Government, and health websites, to give the writers a strong foundation.

The team decided against interviewing domestic violence survivors because they didn’t want to “trigger anyone with personal inquiries about their horrific experience,” according to Louise. Instead, they watched a lot of documentaries and podcasts.

“[Podcasts and videos] allowed us to hear the victims’ voices. I must admit that it was a really trying procedure. Some of the tales were downright horrific.

.‘Walked a fine line’

The PG rating for Home and Away, according to Louise, “dictates certain restrictions on the show.”

Bree has been threatened by Jacob on-screen before a view of the incident’s aftermath, such as a cut lip or other injuries, has been shown.

Louise informs us, “We discussed with directors and actors how to walk the narrow line between being authentic and educational and being graphic for the sake of it.

The writing room refrained from “sensationalising” the subject or “glorifying the offender.”

“We sought to stay away from overt on-screen violence. Additionally, it was a realistic portrayal of the subject given that most domestic abuse occurs in secret and without witnesses.

Due to the prevalence of domestic abuse in the area, Seven has taken a proactive approach to providing cast members, crew, and viewers with support.

The network offers “on-screen reference information” during each show that deals with the delicate subject.

Not only should the audience be given the tale, but also resources for additional information and assistance should they require it, according to Louise.

The producers have made sure that a “EAP,” or “Employer Assistance Program,” is accessible for additional support for actors and crew.


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