Domestic violence organisation unveils hard-hitting campaign

The National Centre for Domestic Violence has unveiled a campaign focused on the excuses used to cover up physical signs of domestic abuse.

Launched on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, “The Big Cover-Up” features partially covered up poster sites, partly hidden films, and blocked social media channels.

Created by Wunderman Thompson on a pro bono basis, excuses such as “I fell over”, “The garage door fell on me”, and “A branch caught my face” all feature in the work, intended to demonstrate the extent to which people will go to hide domestic abuse.

Less than one fifth of women experiencing domestic abuse have reported it to the police, according to the latest official Crime Survey of England and Wales for the year ending 2018, which puts the figure at 18%.

According to Mankind, the number of male victims who come forward is even lower at 14.7%.

Sharon Bryan, head of partnerships at the National Centre for Domestic Violence, said: “What we are exposing is the sheer scale of unreported abuse in England and Wales. It’s tragic that so many people experiencing domestic abuse don’t feel they can speak out – it means the true scale of the issue is hidden.”

“We at the NCDV want victims and survivors to know that if they are ready to disclose the abuse they are experiencing we can support them with free protective injunctions.

“Domestic abuse overwhelmingly concerns male perpetrators abusing women but ruins many men’s lives too. That’s why we are launching this campaign in London at the start of the United Nation’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.” 

Jo Wallace, creative director at Wunderman Thompson, said: “I was shocked and moved to action when I discovered how much abuse goes on without ever being reported. ‘The Big Cover Up’ campaign idea dramatically visualises how the full picture of domestic abuse is literally 80% greater than we’re aware of. It’s ultimately a clever use of media to deliver a hard-hitting message.”


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