Domestic Abuse

Why don't victims of domestic abuse just leave?

Film trailer

Supporting resources:

Document title:
Leaving - The good practice guide
File name:
File size:
236.6 KB
Document title:
Illustrated script
File name:
File size:
5.8 MB
Document title:
Leaving Booklet
File name:
File size:
2.7 MB

This twenty-minute short film aims to offer a glimpse into the long and arduous process of safely leaving an abusive relationship, as well as confront the deep-rooted social misconception that those living with domestic violence ‘should just walk away’.

Leaving is a powerful and multi award winning short film drama that tells the story of Helen (Kierston Wareing, BAFTA Best Actress Nominee - Ken Loache’s It’s a Free World), and her attempt to break free from her violent husband Jim (Johnny Harris, Paul Andrew Williams’ London To Brighton).

“A powerful, tense and beautifully handled piece about a very difficult but important subject. Actors, director, writer and cameraman all deserve great praise.”

– Rutger Haur, Actor

“The film is so good and the messages so relevant that I very much hope it can have a national audience.”

– Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales


The film:

  • Increases understanding of why leaving abuse can often be so difficult for the victim

  • Provides a medium for training people in the public and voluntary sectors to more easily recognise and support people suffering from domestic abuse

  • Improves understanding of domestic abuse amongst employers and provides a catalyst for improved workplace policies and procedures to support victims

The inception of Leaving as an awareness raising idea was spearheaded by recently retired Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Long, who spent much of his career tackling domestic abuse within the South West region of the UK. Stephen wanted a film that would encourage communities to become actively aware of the signs of abuse, so that those other than the services could offer support to victims through a deeper understanding of the problem.

The supporting training pack includes:

The Good Practice Guide is a supportive training resource which gives information and insights into Helen’s struggle to leave an abusive relationship.

Leaving - Good Practice Guide.jpg

The Illustrated Script offers a deeper understanding of every scene at a finer grained level.

Leaving - Illustrated Script_2.jpg

The Character Profile Booklet gives you a further insight and exploration into each of the featured characters.

Leaving - Character Profile Booklet.jpg

“This film just hit me harder than any other. It stayed with me and moved me deeply, which is hard to do. Felt it was courageous and painful. It deserves my best vote.”

– Stephen Shaw, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales

Stephen contacted communications agency Glennie McIntosh, a team adept at handling such social issues. Glennie McIntosh partnered up with Richard Penfold and Sam Hearn of highly experienced production company Omni Productions, who together with Glennie, had previously won three significant International Visual Communication Awards for their drug addiction drama, The Overdose Notes. Leaving was produced in partnership with Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Primary Care Trust, Wiltshire Probation, Wiltshire County Council, Swindon Borough Council, Home Office, Swindon Women’s Refuge, SPLITZ, NSPCC, Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce and Westlea Housing.

“The most impactful thing I have ever seen!”

– Wolfgang Peterson, Director, Troy, Das Boot, In the Line of Fire Leader, Wiltshire County Council

Throughout pre-production, an advisory team was called upon to ensure that the film would remain truthful and respectful to those it would portray. Advisors included Jenni Manners MBE, whose 30 years of service to victims of domestic violence has earned her significant respect within the field, as well as other notable representatives from the Police and Probation services, and charities such as the NSPCC and SPLITZ.

“Circling story, representing the never-ending circle of abuse, with precise and controlled storytelling. The directors are clearly in command and the actors are wonderful.”

– Cillian Murphy, Actor/Director, Troy, Das Boot, In the Line of Fire

Through out the production process, on-set special domestic abuse advisors Sue Blacklock and Chris Fry were at hand for detailed advice and support.

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