Women’s Aid has spoken out to praise ‘Love Island’ fans for spotting the possessive behaviour contestant Joe Garratt appears to be showing towards Lucie Donlan .
Since the series kicked off earlier this month, Joe and Lucie’s relationship has become a cause for concern among viewers, with many noting that he seems to have become increasingly possessive of Lucie.
Earlier this week, fans watched as the Joe criticised Lucie’s friendship with fellow contestant Tommy Fury.
He went on to tell her to tone down her friendships with the other boys in the villa and start spending more time with the girls.
Viewers watched as the surfer broke down in tears as Joe told her: "I'm not happy with it. It's strange. I think it's time for you to get close with the girls."
READ MORE: Is Love Island appropriate for children?
Fans weren’t happy about what they perceived to be controlling language and Ofcom has now received 302 complaints about Lucie’s treatment at the hands of other Islanders.
The media standards watchdog is now deciding whether to investigate.
“We will assess these complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate,” a spokesperson said.
Joe’s request for Lucie to forgo her relationship with Tommy and the other boys in the villa, unsurprisingly upset her and viewers watch as she started crying before heading to the terrace alone to reflect.
Meanwhile Joe speak to a couple of their fellow contestants saying that he hoped Lucie would now stop spending as much time with the boxer as a result of their chat.
Fans of the show headed online to express their upset at Joe’s treatment of Lucie, with many describing his behaviour as “manipulative”.
Joe is sooo manipulative 😷😷😷 poor Lucie
— anna (@annaquiggggley) June 18, 2019
I feel so sorry for lucie she seems so sweet and it’s okay for her to have a Male best friend n Joe being so creepily protective and possessive of her is a big red flat especially with how manipulative he is , making her feel bad for just being herself? #loveisland
— bellasprout (@KonataBella) June 16, 2019
Lucie and Tommy’s whispering was rude. But Joes behaviour screams huge red flags 🚩 he is extremely controlling and unlike Curtis who works through things and communicates with Amy, Joe wants to control the way Lucie behaves because it hurts his ego #LoveIsland
— Nadia Essex (@LadyNadiaEssex) June 16, 2019
And the scenes have also prompted domestic abuse charity Women's Aid to release a statement on the subject.
“Controlling behaviour is never acceptable, and with Love Island viewers complaining to Ofcom in record numbers about Joe’s possessive behaviour towards Lucie, more people are becoming aware of this and want to challenge it,” Adina Claire, Co-Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said.
“Abusive relationships often start off with subtle signs of control, so it’s important that it is recognised at an early stage. Love Island viewers are now very vocal in calling out unhealthy behaviour between couples on the show, and this is a positive development.”
Following the controversy Love Island spokesperson told Metro: “We take the emotional well-being of all the Islanders extremely seriously.
“We have dedicated welfare producers and psychological support on hand at all times who monitor and regularly speak to all of the Islanders in private and off camera, especially if someone appears to be upset.
“All the Islanders are therefore fully supported by the professionals on site and by their friends in the villa.
“This means Islanders are always able to reach out and talk to someone if they feel the need. We will of course continue to monitor all of our Islanders in line with our robust protocols.”
It isn’t the first time a Love Island contestant’s behaviour has prompted comment from Women’s Aid.
Last year Adam Collard raised concerns about his "gaslighting" behaviour towards Rosie Williams.
He was called out by viewers for his treatment of Rosie prompting Women's Aid to urge fans to recognise the signs of emotional abuse.
What are the signs of controlling behaviour?
According to Women’s Aid though every situation and relationship is unique, there are common factors that link the experience of a controlling relationship and acknowledging these can be an important step in preventing further abuse.
The charity goes on to list some of the signs to watch out for including:
Destructive criticism and verbal abuse
Pressure tactics - including sulking, lying to your friends and family about you and telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.
Disrespect - including putting you down in front of other people and not listening or responding when you talk
Breaking trust - including withholding information from you and being jealous.
Isolation - including telling you where you can and can’t go and preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.
Harassment - including not allowing privacy and repeatedly checking up on you.
Women's Aid's full list of signs of domestic abuse can be found here.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse in a relationship, call the Freephone 24/7 National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Women’s Aid in partnership with Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.