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Creative Creative Works Coronavirus

Locked-down streets linked to domestic abuse spike in Women's Aid ad


By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

April 7, 2020 | 3 min read

While the nation follows the government’s direction to stay safe indoors, Women’s Aid is driving consideration of people who are not ‘safe’ as a result of those instructions.

The Lockdown

Between 26 March and 1 April, Women’s Aid experienced a 41% increase in users visiting its Live Chat site – a marked difference from the week prior. To help victims of domestic abuse, Women’s Aid set up a coronavirus advice page for survivors, which has since received 27,000 visitors.

The stark growth of women seeking help about coping with domestic abuse during the lockdown presents a very chilling problem at hand. To raise awareness of those struggling through the coronavirus lockdown with their abusive partners, on a pro bono basis, Engine and Knucklehead have created ‘The Lockdown’ – a campaign that brings this issue to the fore.

Abiding by the current government guidelines, a number of collaborators used their daily exercise excursion to capture footage of London, at its most empty, with people remaining inside.

The vehicles have all but gone on Westminster Bridge as Big Ben stands abandoned in scaffolding, the traffic lights are still at work at Piccadilly Circus, for little use, and a Chinese lantern blows along an abandoned pavement in China Town; all chilling images that stress that domestic abusers are no longer walking the streets, ‘they’re locked inside with their families’.

Nicki Norman, acting chief executive at Women’s Aid, said: “We are grateful to Engine for producing this powerful campaign and we hope it makes people realise that while home may be the safest place to protect ourselves from the virus, it is certainly not a safe place for women and children who are indefinitely trapped with a perpetrator of abuse.”

The work will run on social channels and in donated media including The Guardian print and digital, as well as Sky and Eurosport, thanks to help from Essence.

As the nation went into lockdown last month, Women's Aid places a hidden message of abuse with an ad in March's issue of Vanity Fair, using a series of questions that form a pattern of abusive behaviour.

Women's Aid: The Lockdown by Engine

By Women's Aid

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