New Refuge and Avon campaign – Four Ways to Speak Out


Families who have lost sisters, daughters and mothers to domestic violence are joining forces with Refuge, the country’s largest provider of services to women and children experiencing domestic violence, and Avon, whose global philanthropy has raised and awarded more than $660 million worldwide, to launch a powerful new campaign.

The joint Refuge and Avon Four Ways To Speak Out campaign urges people to ‘speak out’ against domestic violence in four simple ways:

  1. Signing a petition calling for the Government to put an end to the postcode lottery of domestic violence services – as it stands, one in three local authorities do not provide any domestic violence services in their locality whatsoever
  2. Buying an Avon empowerment necklace to commemorate the women killed by domestic violence and help fund vital domestic violence services
  3. Downloading a poster to display in your local area – so women know where to get help
  4. Inviting friends and family to join the campaign

The public is being urged to support the campaign by visiting

The campaign also commemorates the deaths of the 72 women who were killed by their partner or ex-partner between 2007 and 2008.

Families of the women killed by their partners and ex-partners this year will be present at the launch of the campaign.  A line of female cut-out silhouettes will also stand on Potter’s Field, next to City Hall, in remembrance of the shocking death toll taken by domestic violence.

Andy Overton, brother to Rebecca Kowal who was killed by her partner Robert Byrom on 8 May 2008, says: “My sister Becky was killed by a violent and controlling man who gave her over 170 separate injuries. Her death could have been prevented, but instead she has been taken from us forever. I hope that no other family has to go through what we’ve been through.  This is why I am backing the Four Ways To Speak Out campaign in the hope that we can prevent more women like Becky dying at the hands of abusive men.”

Sandra Horley, OBE, chief executive of Refuge, says: “Every week up to two women are killed by a current or former partner and four more commit suicide as their only way to escape abuse.  That’s a death toll of 12 women every week in the UK.  That is not acceptable.  We need to raise awareness of domestic violence and provide more life saving services to women who need support.  We urgently need to end the postcode lottery of domestic violence services and to do this we need a national funding strategy.

“I am urging everyone who sees or hears about this campaign to take action – sign the petition, buy a necklace, download the poster.  Visit to find out how you can support the campaign it’s simple and easy to take part – if thousands of people get involved imagine what we can achieve.

“Avon, which has been supporting Refuge’s work for the last two years, has called on its thousands of Avon Representatives and staff to speak out against domestic violence and mobilise the Four Ways to Speak Out campaign across the UK. I can only hope that thousands of other people will follow suit.

“However, if we do nothing, if we keep silent, we become part of the problem.  Through our silence and inaction we are indirectly condoning domestic violence.  Please speak out – it will save lives.”

Allyson Russell, executive director, business development at Avon UK says: “It’s a challenge for a beauty brand to take on the ugly issue of domestic violence but at Avon we believe that if you can empower a woman, you can change the world. Supporting women’s causes is at our core, and we are committed to helping women create a better life for themselves, their family and their communities.

“With over 6 million Avon Representatives across the globe, and millions of customers here in the UK alone, Avon is in a unique position to spread the vital word on domestic violence through our woman-to-woman network. Our Representatives are a real force for good and will be out in numbers spreading the word about the Avon and Refuge Four Ways campaign.”

Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, spoke at the launch in support of the Four Ways To Speak Out campaign.

Vera Baird, Solicitor General, says:  “Domestic Violence is unacceptable. Since 1997 the government has done a great deal to strengthen the law and improve the way the courts and police support victims of domestic violence. This work has resulted in real progress, over the last ten years incidents of domestic violence have fallen by 64%.

“But tragically women are still being killed by abusive partners, which is why we have reformed the law on provocation, and I support Refuge’s campaign that makes it clear beyond doubt that any form of violence against women will not be tolerated.

“It is vital that women can access specialist local services for help with domestic violence, and as part of the Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy we will overhaul arrangements for funding of third sector organisations, and will encourage local commissioners to do the same.”

On 2 December 2009 Avon UK and Refuge will host a press conference at the House of Commons to discuss the Four Ways to Speak Out campaign.  The event will mark the mid-point in the ’16 Days of Activism’ which begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and which ends on 10 December, International Human Rights Day. At the event, Avon will announce the results of new research it has commissioned into public perceptions of domestic violence, seeking to break down the wall of silence that surrounds the issue.

Avon has supported Refuge for the last two years, donating 80% of the UK proceeds of its Empowerment necklace and bracelet to support services for abused women and children.  Worldwide sales have raised $8.1million, which has gone towards funding programmes in 53 countries.


To attend the campaign, speak to any of the speakers or family members or for further information about the campaign or to obtain photography please contact:
•    The Refuge press office, 020 7395 7731, or
•    Lisa King, Refuge, 07799 712293,

Notes to Editors:

Celebrities who’ve agreed to sign the petition to date include Fiona Bruce, Dame Helen Mirren, Janet Ellis, Maxine Peake, Sheryl and Bianca Gascoigne, Ruby Wax, Helena Bonham Carter, Jo Brand, Patrick Stewart, Madeline Peyroux, Lorraine Kelly, Betty Jackson, Christine Hamilton, Kate Royal, Olivia Inge and Camilla Rutherford, Janet Ellis, Andrea Catherwood, Daisy De Villeneuve, Donna Air.

About Avon
Avon is the world’s leading direct seller of beauty and related products, with $10 billion in annual revenues. Avon markets to women around the world through six million independent sales Representatives. Avon product lines include Avon Colour, Anew, Skin So Soft and Advance Techniques Hair Care.  Avon also sells an extensive range of wellbeing products, jewellery, lingerie, accessories and gifts.  In the UK alone, Avon Representatives reach nearly one in three women.  Since 1992, Avon (UK) has raised £15 million for breast cancer charities.  In 2009, Avon was voted the UK’s fifth favourite brand according to Verdict Research.  More information can be found at

Celebrating 50 years of beauty innovation
This year Avon UK is celebrating 50 years of helping women look and feel great. Avon, the company for women is proud to offer innovative, quality beauty products at competitive prices – now and always.

The Avon range is exclusively not available in shops, but personally hand-delivered to your door by buying from a Representative or online at  All purchases are supported by a 100% money back guarantee.  Customers in Ireland should call 00 353 1870 6540.

About Refuge
Refuge is the largest specialist service provider of domestic violence services in the country.  Alongside providing safe, emergency accommodation and emotional and practical support to women and children experiencing domestic, Refuge also provides services for children, individual and group counselling for women experiencing domestic violence and community based outreach services for women.  Its services include specialist refuge and outreach projects for black and minority ethnic communities. It has a growing team of independent domestic violence advocates whose primary role is to support a woman through the civil and criminal justice system. On any given day Refuge is supporting over 1,000 women and children.   It also runs the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline in partnership with Women’s Aid. For further information visit: