Is domestic violence always physical?
There's a growing awareness around the signs of coercive control - Imagine always being told that your dress is inappropriate. Imagine not being able to see your friends without your partner present. Imagine someone close to you taking control of your mobile phone, your bank account, the food you eat, the exercise you take. This pattern of control builds up to coercive control – the emotional and psychological abuse of a partner, through threats and restrictions, as well as physical violence.
The new law on coercive control which was introduced at the end of last year after a Home Office consultation can help victims achieve justice and will hopefully instigate cultural change around this lesser-known side of domestic abuse. As the first year of the legislation draws closer, Women’s Aid launches a new campaign to raise awareness and understanding that, even if he hasn’t raised his fists, it’s still a crime.
To do so, they are using a displacement effect, a visual technique that reveals two different headlines depending on your perspective, for the first time in UK advertising. The aim is to highlight the fact that although coercive control might be more difficult to see than physical violence – it can be just as damaging.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said: “Coercive control is the heart of domestic abuse. Physical violence often comes at a later point in an abusive relationship; what comes first is the systematic destruction of a survivor’s self-esteem and autonomy, piece by piece. Women’s Aid campaigned to have coercive control recognised in law, and we are thrilled to have the support of 8 Outdoor and WCRS in communicating what coercive control is to the world in such a cutting-edge way. If we do not understand the nature of domestic abuse, we cannot reduce or prevent it – but this powerful campaign will go a long way to helping many more people understand the reality.”
8 Outdoor, a charity partner of Women’s Aid have donated free media space to highlight this issue. It has been timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the introduction of the coercive control legislation and the Christmas period, a time when studies show an increase in incidences of domestic violence.
Cennydd Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of 8 Outdoor: “We’re extremely proud to be working with Women’s Aid and WCRS to support such an important cause. Out of Home has been a key medium for driving awareness for commercial brands for centuries, so it’s wonderful to be able to provide a platform to deliver messaging in such a unique way, to raise awareness of issues affecting women from all walks of life in the UK”, said.
The campaign will be running from 19th December on 8 Outdoor’s network of screens, across London, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh. The campaign will deliver nearly 7 million impacts over the two weeks that it will be live. All digital out-of-home screens are roadside sites with long dwell time and viewability – offering the perfect platform for both the creative messages to be seen by road users as they approach.
Ross Neil, ECD of WCRS: “The opportunity WCRS has always sought with Women’s Aid is to marry messaging with an element of the interactive. Whether that’s 3D cinema, binaural sound or facial recognition technology. The opportunity for interactivity on a media site that consumers speed past in seconds is therefore slightly limiting. Limiting can also be a challenge to creativity, that is why we are so proud of this piece of work. It uses the displacement illusion to deliver hidden messages to consumers depending on their distance to the media site. Super simple, super effective.”
Anyone affected by the campaign and the issue of coercive control can go to www.womensaid.org.uk for information and support.