20 years ago, Brooke Satchwell experienced physical assault. It's something she has to live with every day.

Content warning: This post deals with physical assault and could be triggering for some readers.

Brooke Satchwell has graced our screens for over 25 years, playing a multitude of characters.

Her latest role is in courtroom drama The Twelve, which will be released later this year. In the show, Satchwell plays as an emotionally abused wife. 

"Everybody has a story. Everybody has an understanding or experience or anecdote they wanted to contribute to this character," Satchwell told Stellar magazine.

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The 10-part series will unravel the story of 12 Australians who have been selected for jury duty. They trial a woman who stands accused of murdering her teenage niece.

For the compelling story, she shares the screen with notable Aussie stars including Sam Neill, Kate Mulvany, Marta Dusseldorp and Brendan Cowell.

"Every department was crammed with people I’ve worked with across three decades; some of them I hadn’t seen for a really long time; pretty much all of them I considered family; and everybody I held in high regard professionally," she said. 

We first met Satchwell on Neighbours in 1996, where she played Anne Wilkinson. While she quit the role in 1999, her star was already on the rise. 

Now, at 41, the actor has become a well-known figure in Australia and hinted she was chosen for the role of juror Georgina Merrick - a mother of three who seemingly has it all but is actually a victim of domestic violence - due to similarities in Satchwell's own life. 


"In that first phone call I suddenly thought, hang on, this is too good to be true. Am I just the person who people go to when there’s something that needs to be done that no-one else will do? What’s the catch?" she explained.

"Sure enough, there was a silence on the end of the phone. Then I found out there was a sensitive storyline, which has an intersection with my personal life."

Her character Georgina may have the big house, a seemingly happy family and a loving, devoted husband - however not everything is as it seems. 

"Control and coercion are an element of Georgina’s story," Satchwell said.

The character's story is not too far off from her own past, where Satchwell experienced physical assault from a former partner 20 years ago. She has chosen to remain private with her own story.

"My job is to tell stories, and I was compassionately advised that my personal experience shouldn’t discount me from accepting the role," the actor said.


"As someone who has worked incredibly hard for over two decades, I knew this was a great opportunity. But I’ve also worked incredibly hard personally to be the most well-rounded, thriving human I can be…"

"I experienced something nearly 20 years ago that I’ve had to live with and wake up to every day; to learn how to progress through; to heal; to grow; to reclaim my life," she said.

Satchwell went on to tell Stellar the intensity of the role she played - in parallel with her own experience - is still something she has to process. 

"I was in trauma in nearly every scene, so much so, they struggled to find a picture of me smiling for the promotions," she explained.

"[But] I only recognised that after the fact… Quite often, it’s only when you come out the other side of an experience that you realise what you’ve been holding or carrying, because now you can release it."

In saying that, Satchwell also felt empowered by her work, admitting that she had realised "certain beats" of her character required "more attention or care for the current landscape in regards to coercive control and domestic violence."


"I had to learn to ask for what I needed… and step into a sense of ownership and power," she said.

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The actor hopes Georgina's plot line opens the conversation surrounding abuse. 

"It’s extraordinary what will end up on screen, [because] the little details from top-to-toe came from almost every woman on that production," she said. 

In saying that, Satchwell veers away from speaking out about her own experience and trauma, as it doesn't "serve the conversation".

"I’ve chosen not to speak about the intricacies of my personal experience because it doesn’t necessarily serve the conversation," she said.

"People historically – and certainly where the conversation was at two decades ago – got bogged down in irrelevant details and weren’t actually discussing the issue at hand.

"I’m also interested in growing and moving forward from my experience. And my view is that everybody involved should be allowed the same."

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

You can also call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit for further information.

The Men’s Referral Service is also available on 1300 766 491 or via online chat at 

You can also access the Are You Safe At Home's website service directory.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636. 

Feature Image: Getty.