Megan Cusack fronts domestic-violence campaign in chilling abuse video

Irish actor joins FKA Twigs and Leah Harvey to push for enactment of Valerie’s Law in UK

The Call the Midwife star Megan Cusack is joining FKA Twigs and Leah Harvey to front a new campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The Irish actor features in a chilling video made by Sistah Space, a London-based charity, to highlight the inequality black women in the UK face when seeking help for domestic abuse.

The video will appear on social media from 12.30pm today, as part of Sistah Space's It's Just (Life-Saving) Training push to draw attention to a petition calling for better police training that will be considered for parliamentary debate, if it gathers 100,000 signatures.

Cusack, who is part of the celebrated stage and screen family that includes her aunts Niamh Cusack and Sinéad Cusack and uncle Jeremy Irons, plays a woman trying to escape domestic abuse. The police's treatment of her is contrasted with their treatment of Leah Harvey, who is set to play a lead role in the upcoming Apple TV+ series Foundation. The singer FKA Twigs, who last year accused the actor Shia LaBeouf of abusive behaviour during their relationship, voices the clip.


The campaign, which is also backed by Michaela Coel, the actor and writer of I May Destroy You, based on her own experience of sexual assault, and the TV personality Malin Andersson, focuses on a common issue reported by black victims, where police use bruising as an indicator of a situation's severity, so leaving black women at increased risk.

The push for specialist training hopes to enact Valerie's Law, named after Valerie Forde and her 23-month-old daughter, who were murdered in 2014 by Forde's abusive ex-partner, despite her having alerted authorities to the danger she was in. An inquiry by the UK's Independent Police Complaints Commission found police inaction was a contributing factor in the case.

“When the offer of this project came up there wasn’t a moment of hesitation on whether or not to take it,” says Cusack. “I feel, especially as a white woman, we have to appreciate and acknowledge the privilege we have, and how important it is for us when fighting for equality to stand strong in amplifying and highlighting the voices of the black women around us.

"You can't help but see the differences between, say, the Sarah Everard and Blessing Olusegun cases," she continues, referring to two investigations in England in the past year. "Both were young women whose lives were tragically cut short. So why was it that one garnered so much more media attention? Was it because Sarah was a cis white young woman?

“Valerie’s Law has made even more abundantly clear the inequalities black women face on a daily basis, especially when it comes to domestic-abuse services.” Her case “has shown just how necessary it is for this law to be passed and for this specialist training to become mandatory for all police and any government agencies that are there to support black women and girls affected by domestic abuse”.

Ngozi Fulani, the head of Sistah Space, says, "Without mandating this life-saving training, black women are left to gamble with their lives on whether the officer responding to the scene has received enough cultural training to spot the unique signs of abuse in black environments or on black skin."

From Skibbereen, Cusack now lives in London, where she is filming her second series of Call the Midwife. She joined the cast of the long-running BBC show as Pupil Midwife Nancy Corrigan last year, having previously studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and appeared in the Druid productions of The Cherry Orchard and DruidGregory.