Today, Women’s Aid launches a powerful new campaign – called Respite – to raise awareness that women in abusive relationships have fewer opportunities to spend time away from their abusive partners during Covid lockdowns.
The Respite campaign shows how any chance for survivors to get out, even for a few hours, has been drastically reduced.
Released in 60-second and 90-second versions, the film ends with the line, ‘For thousands of women and children right now, home is anything but safe.’
Created by ENGINE Creative, the TV commercial and online film aim to increase awareness and donations for Women’s Aid leading into the holiday period.
Directed by Molly Burdett, the commercial includes the skills of director of photography Robbie Ryan, Oscar-nominated for his cinematography on The Favourite.
ENGINE’s new work follows the publication in August of A Perfect Storm, a Women’s Aid report that revealed 61% of women experiencing abuse and isolation said the abuse had worsened after the first national lockdown. Added to this, access to escape and support networks was restricted by lockdown measures and over three-quarters of survivors living with their abuser (78%) felt they could not leave or get away as a result of the pandemic.
The new campaign builds on the agency’s work in May, when it released The Lockdown on behalf of Women’s Aid, a one-week drive to build awareness and attract donations to keep the charity’s invaluable Live Chat chatline available and to help fund refuges for women and children.
Nicki Norman, acting Chief Executive at Women’s Aid said: ‘Domestic abuse support services were already facing a funding crisis before the pandemic, and it has been a challenging year as more women than ever reach out for help and support.
‘We know at Women’s Aid that many women experiencing abuse try to get through the Christmas period for the sake of their children and their wider family, then reach out to us for support in the New Year.
‘The combined impact of the pandemic and the festive season will be significant for survivors of domestic abuse, who have told us that, this year, they have already felt trapped with their abusers during the lockdown. Women are experiencing patterns of control and physical, emotional, economic and sexual abuse day in, day out – both Covid and the festive season can make existing abuse even worse.’
Christopher Ringsell, Creative Director at ENGINE Creative said: ‘This subtle and impactful film shows just how important any respite from an abusive partner can be. The lengths women have to go to for some small moments of normality demonstrates how traumatic it is being in lockdown with a perpetrator.’