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The Truth Is Longer Than A Lie is a PHD research study and non-fiction book (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London) by Melbourne-based academics Dr Neerosh Mudaly and Professor Chris Goddard which investigates children’s experiences of domestic child abuse and the subsequent professional intervention methods currently practised. A difficult, but crucial subject, the adaptation for the stage utilizes not only the extensive research but also concentrates on the direct quotes of child victims used throughout. The voices of these children and two stories in particular: one of an upper middle class girl, and one of an outer suburban, disenfranchised boy form the basis of the play.
Amy has been abused by her father, Ben, since she was three. He is not the only perpetrator, however. Amy’s mother, Andrea, lives in complete denial of the situation that also involves her son and a fleeting lover when Amy was six. Finally, at seventeen, Amy confesses fully to a school counsellor and the repercussions within the family are dire.
Paula has been in an on again-off again relationship with Rod for a number of years. Physically violent towards her and both physically and sexually violent towards her son, Matthew/Spiderman, their lives separate once again when a policeman shoots Rod in the abdomen after a violent domestic dispute. This event gives Paula the chance to move away and receive help.
The Truth is Longer Than a Lie shows domestic child abuse as a hidden and endless problem across all strands of society. Via counselling, police protection, out of home care, animal therapy, a child’s sense of play and the listening skills of professionals, some hope arrives for both Amy and Spiderman with the greatest hope being that the two kids met each other.