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A documentary that exposes horrors of domestic abuse in Tory Britain

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Issue 2644
Support worker Charlotte
Support worker Charlotte

This Dispatches documentary is a gruelling look at a refuge for women fleeing domestic abuse.

Their stories are horrific. Many have suffered years of abuse at the hands of their partners. They talk of being strangled, spat at and raped. The refuge in Surrey provides not only accommodation but intense counselling, educational support for their children and help to start a new life.

Workers try to “wrap them in support” to allow them to break contact with the perpetrators.

Sometimes it doesn’t work. Rachel, who suffered 18 years of abuse from her husband, returns to him during filming.

But 48 hours later she’s had to come back after he strangles her.

Residents live with constant fear of being tracked down by their ex-partners. This happens to Alison, after her child posted a photo on social media of their new school uniform.

Alison and her three teenage children are forced to leave the home within an hour, bundling their clothes into bin bags and hugging tearful goodbyes.

This refuge—and the 301 others like it—save lives.

But there are not enough of them, and they are chronically underfunded. Some six in ten women are turned away when trying to flee domestic abuse. Support worker Charlotte meets Theresa May to discuss new abuse laws.

“There’s no point having a fancy new piece of legislation about domestic abuse that’s going to encourage people to report crimes, if there’s no place that women can go,” Charlotte said.

Safe At Last is harrowing and reveals what can happen to women facing domestic abuse—and the workers who help to give them a new start.

Sarah Bates

The boy who harnessed the wind

The streaming giant’s latest big-name release is written by, directed by and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor.

It follows the true story of 13 year old William Kamkwana, who builds a wind turbine to help provide energy for his village Wimba in Malawi during a famine.

The film is based on Kamkwana’s book, and keeps a tight focus on the dynamics between William and his family.

Winning a prize at the Sundance film festival, it’s a worthy directorial debut from Eijiofor.

On Netflix and at selected cinemas

Dorothea Tanning

This major exhibition of the work of pioneering surrealist artist Dorothea Tanning includes over 100 pieces of her work, made over 70 years.

Tanning was a painter, poet and writer who explored domesticity.

A central theme in her early career was combining the familiar with the strange to turn the home into a surrealist space.

This is the first large-scale exhibition for 25 years. It’s set to explore Tanning’s love of gothic and romantic literature, alongside her passion for dance, music and performance.

Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG. Until 9 June, £13

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