As trial of Helen Titchener begins, Refuge urges the public to support real-life Helens


Today, the trial of The Archers’ character Helen Titchener – accused of attempting to murder her abusive husband, Rob – will begin on BBC Radio 4. As fans of The Archers wait on tenterhooks for Helen’s fate to be decided, Refuge chief executive Sandra Horley has urged the public to support real-life survivors of domestic violence through The Helen Titchener Fund, set up in aid of Refuge by supporter Paul Trueman.

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, said:

“When Helen stabbed Rob, she clearly felt that her life – and the life of her child – was under threat from an aggressive man. Listeners have heard Rob alternate between charm and abuse, subjecting Helen to years of psychological torture as well as physical violence. Sadly, Helen’s experiences mirror what so many abused women feel and experience every day – she has been manipulated and controlled by a violent and bullying partner. As Helen’s trial begins this evening, I sincerely hope the jury recognises this.

“Refuge’s specialist services support 3,800 women and children escaping domestic violence on any given day – including many survivors navigating what can be a complex, isolating and intimidating criminal justice system. All too often, those in the courtroom do not have an understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and the psychological impact it can have on a woman. I hope that in this case, justice will be done.

“If you have been moved by Helen’s story, I would urge you to consider the real-life Helens Refuge supports every day. I am so grateful to everyone who has donated to Refuge via the Helen Titchener Fund so far – at a time when domestic violence services are experiencing huge cuts, your support makes a real difference in keeping the doors to Refuge’s services open.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Paul Trueman, the Refuge supporter who started the Fund.  He has set an amazing target of £150,000 and it would be fantastic if we were able to reach this amount over the course of the trial.  This sum is the equivalent of almost 2,900 nights in a refuge for a woman and her children. Refuges provide a vital escape route for women like Helen – women who live with the knowledge that a violent attacker has the key to their front door, who live in fear for their own lives and the lives of their children. Your support will make a real difference.”

If you would like to donate to Refuge via the Helen Titchener Fund, click here. For more information, contact the press office on or phone 0207 395 7731. Out of hours and weekend number: 07970 894240