Safe Home’s Aisha Dee on how production ensured the “safety” of their cast and crew


Aisha Dee: “Everyone there was so passionate about the story that we were telling”

SBS’ new series Safe Home delves into the harrowing stories of family violence, led by Australian actress Aisha Dee in her most dramatic role yet.

The four-part series follows Phoebe (Dee), a twenty-something professional who leaves her job at a prominent law firm to work at a struggling family violence legal centre. As interconnecting stories unfold, relationships are tested and the pressure mounts to save the centre. With so much at stake, Phoebe must navigate a path that isn’t always clear – and people aren’t always as they appear.

While the subject matter itself is deeply traumatising, for the cast and crew working on the production, being thrown into these stories everyday sometimes took an emotional toll, but fortunately, production companies Kindling Pictures and Beach Road, made the safety of their team a top priority.

In an interview with Mediaweek prior to the release, Dee admitted that everyone on set was “incredible”, especially when it came to supporting one another.

Safe Home

“The creative team and the producing team and our incredible crew behind the show, just everyone there was so passionate about the story that we were telling,” she said. “Everyone really held each other in this way to where it felt like if any one person was feeling triggered, or maybe a certain storyline or scene was difficult for them, everyone else rallied around and really made sure that they were safe.”

According to 29-year-old Dee, there were many resources made available, including numbers to call and time allowed when it was needed.

“I really think that’s a testament to our incredible producers and our amazing directors. Everyone really went out of their way to make sure that the environment was safe so that we could go right to the depths of the story.”

Dee recalled a moment on her first day, when she headed into the production office for her very first fitting.

“I went to the bathroom,” she said. “On the back of the door of the bathroom, they had a laminated sign on the door that was basically just explaining, like, ‘Hey, this is the show we’re making. It’s called Safe Home. We’re exploring some themes that can be really triggering for people. But our biggest priority is to honour the victims and survivors and if you are feeling triggered, here are some numbers you can call.’

“I’ve been on sets before where we’re exploring really intense subject matter and usually the place I go if I’m feeling triggered is straight to the bathroom to have a little cry… It wasn’t like I was feeling anything at that point, but just knowing that that resource was going to be there, it just made me feel like it gave me permission to go to emotional places that I don’t think I would have.”

Safe Home

Writer Anna Barnes wrote about her experience to create Safe Home

Writer Anna Barnes created Safe Home after working at a Legal Centre in Melbourne. To go further into the story, she also engaged professionals in the sector of family violence.

“I think Anna Barnes was a huge resource for me specifically,” Dee said. “Because she did the job that we see Phoebe come in to do. She’s a writer and we see Phoebe, who is also a writer and is working in the PR space. It is kind of a bizarre job title to have in a space like this, so she was a huge resource for me and I think for everyone, because she had really experienced the people and the kind of environment that you see in these places.”

Something that really “struck” The Bold Type actress in their initial conversations “was just the way that she talked about the community”.

“I think these work environments, they sound incredibly challenging, but it’s the way that they all help each other through it.”


Pictured left to right: Virginia Gay, Aisha Dee and Mabel Li

Safe Home explores all types of family violence 

One of the more confronting aspects of the series is the exploration of family violence and it’s many forms. For many viewers, it is bound to stir up some emotion.

“Unfortunately, when you look at the statistics, it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have a personal connection to family violence,” Dee said. “So, I think it’s really going to hit home for a lot of people. I love that we kind of explore it through the eyes of many different people. It’s not just one. We as an audience are kind of seeing it through Phoebe’s eyes, but we also get at it from so many different angles.

“I know when I read the script, I felt like I was a fly on the wall in the lives of so many people that I love. Family and friends and I think anyone that exists in the world, especially in Australia — because it really is such a specifically Aussie show — I think even if you don’t have a personal experience, you will find someone that you connect to, someone that makes you think of a loved one.”

If you or someone you know has experienced or is experiencing any form of abuse, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Safe Home premieres on May 11 on SBS and SBS on Demand.

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