Following the news that the long-running EastEnders domestic abuse storyline featuring Gray and Chantelle Atkins is to climax with Gray taking Chantelle’s life, WomensAid has announced actor Toby-Alexander Smith, who plays Gray in the soap, as their new ambassador.
I’ve been working closely with @womensaid whilst playing the character Gray Atkins on @bbceastenders . Due to the staggering increase in domestic abuse during lockdown, services like @womensaid,@RefugeCharity and @respect are working tirelessly to help those suffering from abuse. pic.twitter.com/yXFKl10V2a— Toby-Alexander Smith (@_TobyAlexander) May 7, 2020
Teresa Parker, Head of Media Relations and Communications at Women’s Aid, said:
“We have been working closely with Toby during his time on EastEnders, as he has been researching his role as perpetrator of domestic abuse Gray Atkins. We are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Toby as a charity Ambassador in recognition of his ongoing commitment to support our work, and to be part of raising awareness of domestic abuse and healthy relationships in the future.”
Toby-Alexander Smith said:
“Taking on the role of Gray Atkins in EastEnders felt like a huge responsibility given how much awareness of domestic abuse it could raise. EastEnders has a history of tackling important issues on screen and I knew as an actor it was important for me to get this storyline right. Women’s Aid has been a vital source of my research in understanding the complexity of a perpetrator’s manipulative and controlling behaviour. I was appalled at the statistics of how many survivors are out there suffering at the hands of their abuser. There is still clearly a lack of education in our society that any form of abuse is unacceptable and this has to change. Women’s Aid life-saving work has inspired me to do more. We need to call out the perpetrators and let them know that their seemingly invisible crime, is in fact, visible to us. I am proud to become an Ambassador and will stand up and support survivors of abuse wherever and whenever I can.”
If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling and abusive, go to www.womensaid.org.uk for support and information, including Live Chat, the Survivors’ Forum, The Survivor’s Handbook and the Domestic Abuse Directory. Live Chat is open from 10 am–4 pm for confidential expert support from specialised support workers. Click to access support and advice.
The EastEnders domestic abuse storyline will play out between now and Christmas. Stream EastEnders via BBC iPlayer.