Coronation Street has a new villain; Geoff Metcalfe (played by Ian Bartholomew). While he may not be wielding a gun, or stalking the streets for how he can take down his next victim, he is committing a similarly sinister act; coercively controlling and emotionally abusing his wife Yasmeen Nazir (Shelley King). But, there is a possibility his evil plan could backfire as Express.co.uk sought legal advice about this storyline.
For many months, Yasmeen has been dominated by her overbearing husband, once a confident woman, the Speed Daal chef is now a scared recluse who sees few friends and spends much of her time in the house adhering to Geoff’s demands.
Back in August, Geoff found a new way to monitor Yasmeen – installing CCTV cameras in the house.
Without discussing whether or not it was a good idea, Yasmeen came home one day at found Geoff suggesting they needed to increase the security in their house.
It comes after their house was apparently robbed with the “unknown” thief taking photographs and a box of jewellery, which viewers knew was orchestrated by Geoff himself.
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However, it was obvious Geoff installed the cameras to keep an eye on Yasmeen while she was at home, to which the actor confirmed it was to “watch her every move”.
After learning about the cameras, Yasmeen was horrified and told her husband she didn’t want them, but his controlling behaviour only continued as he accused her of not considering his feelings.
Furious, he did as she asked and took the cameras down, but left one in the living room.
After deciding they should no longer be together, Geoff moved back in with Tim Metcalfe (Joe Duttine) and then watched a tearful Yasmeen through the one camera he had slyly left.
In later scenes, Yasmeen begged for Geoff to come back, and despite being ordered to clean the house top to bottom, Yasmeen still doesn’t know about the camera.
While Geoff thinks he is being clever, Sarah Jane Lenihan a Partner at Stowe Family Law LLP spoke to Express.co.uk about the use of technology within an abusive situation.
“Sadly we have seen a rise in abuse using technology, which we refer to as ‘tech abuse’, and this is particularly prevalent in controlling relationships,” Sarah explained.
“Examples of this can be a partner checking the other’s mobile phone regularly, contacting constantly to check whereabouts, use of social media to denigrate or embarrass, recording telephone calls, obtaining access to online banking or installing ‘find my iPhone’ to track whereabouts.”
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In relation to Yasmeen’s coercive control storyline, Sarah added: “The installation of secret cameras is unfortunately not unusual in an abusive relationship. Perpetrators often use this to keep ‘track’ of their partner and spy on them without their knowledge.
“It is actually a criminal offence to set up a hidden camera in any property where the individual would expect to have privacy. The perpetrator may therefore find themselves being investigated for this offence too.
“I have however found in cases I have dealt with that these secret cameras can be used as evidence of controlling and or coercive behaviour and the footage obtained from them can actually be helpful to support the victim’s case.”
As for how what can be done to curb the negative aspects of technology and turn it around to use tech for helping reduce domestic abuse instead of contribute to it, Sarah said: “As mentioned above the use of CCTV can be used to evidence behaviour which may otherwise not be available to establish so easily.
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“If both parties are aware that there are cameras, it can also keep a victim safe as it can act as a deterrent to abusive behaviour.
“Mobile telephones, as discussed above, can also be key evidence in establishing an abusive relationship.
“We have also seen in the press cases of smart devices such as Alexa recognising threats to kill and telephoning the Police. If these smart devices can do this, they could potentially be lifesaving.”
If you or anyone you know has been affected by Yasmeen’s storyline, please see Women’s Aid’s website here.
Coronation Street returns Monday at 7.30pm on ITV.
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