Victim Support are currently working with the And Tomorrow Theatre Company and their new one-woman play, The Good Dad (A Love Story). The play focuses on family incest, the impact it has on the characters involved, and highlights the abusive tactics used by perpetrators of domestic abuse.

The play is based on real life events from the 1980s. The main character is Donna, the victim of an abusive father. Donna’s father uses grooming techniques in the abuse of his daughter, to convince her that she is special and that it’s happening to her because she is loved.

Grooming is used to make a child think that abuse and exploitation is normal, or that they have no choice. Perpetrators do this by building a relationship and emotional connection with the child, with devastating consequences.

The drama is told from the perspectives of the mother, daughter and sister in the family. The father gaslights the entire family over many years into believing he is weak and suffering from a bad heart, creating situations where he can be alone with the victim to continue the abuse.

Repeated gaslighting over a long period can make someone doubt their own ideas or even question their sanity. It can have a highly negative effect on a person’s self-esteem and confidence. In certain situations, perpetrators of abuse deliberately gaslight their victim as a way of controlling them, a serious form of emotional abuse that is never acceptable.

The play demonstrates how the characters are manipulated to serve the perpetrator’s needs through coercive and controlling behaviour. This behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.

A senior independent domestic violence advisor from Victim Support will be present at a Q&A session after the Saturday night performance. She will be able to answer questions from the audience that may arise from the production (for example on domestic abuse and coercive control). She will signpost audience members to our support if they require it, and to any other relevant victim support services.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can contact us at Victim Support for advice and support via our free, 24/7 Supportline: 08 08 16 89 111 or live chat service. If you are in London you can contact the London Victim and Witness Service on 0808 168 9291.

The Good Dad (A Love Story) runs at the Golden Goose Theatre in Camberwell, London, between 26-29 January.