Debbie Dingle (played by Charley Webb) was hit when she tried to defend Ross Barton (Michael Parr) in last night’s episode of Emmerdale.
The mother-of-two had warned Ross not to work with drug dealer Connor (Cameron Jack) to find his attacker Simon McManus but ended up injured.
After Debbie handed over his drugs, which she retrieved from Ross’s abandoned car, the feisty businesswoman took a swipe at Connor.
She spat: “You get off on this – your pathetic little games. What do you think that makes you sound more interesting?
“It must be pretty depressing knowing that a girl will only sleep with you if she’s drugged, paid or terrified.”
What came next stunned viewers at home as Connor punched Debbie square in the face, leaving her bleeding and Ross astonished.
The scene upset some fans, who complained it was shown before the watershed on Twitter.
One person tweeted: “A man hitting a female before 9pm tut tut. How come nobody said violence is acceptable whoever it is? #Emmerdale”
Another wrote: “@emmerdale Why so much violence, criminality, hatred and sadness in Emmerdale? Finding it so hard to watch.”
A third said: “Oh that wasn’t a nice scene to watch at all Debbie getting punched by a guy @emmerdale @MissCharleyWebb”
Someone else commented: “Connor just thumped Debbie. That was brutal. Difficult to watch but @MissCharleyWebb and @RentAThug performed it perfectly #Emmerdale.”
Also in the episode, Belle Dingle’s (Eden Taylor-Draper) pregnancy was exposed during a trip to the Dales when she got involved in Lachlan’s (Thomas Atkinson) drama.
The mum-to-be, who is expecting her first child with boyfriend Lachlan White, secret was revealed after she was pushed over amid a scuffle between Sam Dingle (James Hooton) and Lachlan.
Belle was rushed to hospital, but, was told that she was never actually pregnant and last week’s test result was a false positive.
The teenager was shocked to discover the medication she takes for her mental heath problems can cause inaccurate results.
Of course, the news will devastate the youngster as she and Lachlan had agreed to keep the baby and start a family together.
The sad news will hit Lachlan particularly hard as he had hoped having a baby would give him a chance to redeem himself after causing the deaths of Lawrence and Chrissie White and Gerry Roberts.
Last week, Eden spoke about Lachlan’s crimes, telling Digital Spy: “Belle is very oblivious to what Lachlan has done to Gerry.”
She added: “I have no clue what Belle would do if she knew the truth about Lachlan, probably break up with him maybe!
“I don’t know though, she’d still love him so I’m not sure.”
Emmerdale continues on tonight ITV at 7pm.