A London-based domestic violence charity has launched a festive campaign urging people to look out for the signs of domestic abuse and act this Christmas before it’s too late.
As part of the campaign, Hackney-based production company Roll Nine Productions created a short film featuring a couple enjoying their festive traditions, whilst ignoring the heart-wrenching abuse happening next door, not knowing when or how to take action, until tragedy strikes and it’s too late.
Director at Solace Jane Jutsum said: “Christmas is considered a time for family and celebration but for too many women and children it can be a time of fear and isolation.
“The focus of this campaign is on how too often we turn a blind eye to the violence that is around us.
“It’s easy to hope that someone else will do something, but to make a real change, to save lives and stop this epidemic of violence against women and girls (VAWG), we all need to do something.”
Jutsum added: “Abuse often continues for years before women feel able to leave, and for some women, there is no escape.
“Recent events tragically mean that violence against women and girls is very much at the forefront of people’s minds, but this is a societal problem and we hope this campaign amplifies our call for change in how victim/survivors are treated and helps ensure that together we can create a safer world for everyone.”
Deputy Director of Business Development at Solace, Rebecca Goshawk, told SWL: “We really want people to be looking for the signs and educating themselves.
“But also, there are women and children who urgently need help.
“Many of the women and children that come to us come with almost nothing… they’re fleeing for their own safety.
“We ask people at this time to do something and donate or do the work in their communities.”
During the pandemic, Solace have seen an unprecedented rise in demand for their services with about 117% more calls to their adviceline than usual.
Goshawk said: “Perpetrators had more time and more control over their victims during lockdown because victims had nowhere else to go or people felt they were being monitored constantly.”
She explained often survivors don’t necessarily see all of the areas in which they would recognise as being abusive.
“Controlling and coercive behaviour can often take time before victims can recognise it and, others around them can also not see this behaviour and struggle to offer help.”
The charity, which currently has more than 300 women and children living in their refuges, is urging people to spot the physical, behavioural, and practical signs of domestic abuse.
According to the charity, on average two women are killed by a partner or ex-partner each week in England and Wales and a further three women a week take their own life as a result of their trauma, but experts believe figures could be much higher.
Between the moment families open their first advent calendar window until when they head back to their desks after the Christmas period, approximately 20 women will have lost their lives, according to Solace.
The campaign film stars actors Taylor Celeste Conti, who played Scott on Netlix’s #SAFE, and Sureni Kay, known for her role in Eastenders.
Karen Bryson, who provided the powerful voice over, said: “I’m proud to support Solace.
“Their work is crucial to supporting women and children across London, enabling them to build safe and strong lives.”
You can watch the campaign film here.
To help support the work of Solace Women’s Aid, please donate online at https://www.solacewomensaid.org/donate.
Feature image credit: Solace/Roll Nine Productions