Care or control

This campaign highlighted the more subtle controlling behaviours used by perpetrators of domestic violence.

Refuge’s ‘care or control’ campaign launched on Valentine’s Day in February 2010.

Four dramatic posters were displayed across the country, highlighting the more subtle forms of control commonly used by abusers. Research shows that too few women recognise the non-physical signs of domestic violence.

The campaign encouraged women to question whether their partner’s behaviour was ‘caring’ or ‘controlling’. Pictures of teddy bears were used to depict four different types of controlling behaviour:

Click on the links above to download the full posters.


Each poster describes scenarios which show how abusers mask their abusive behaviour – disguising ‘control’ as ‘care’.

Each ‘male’ teddy bear is also shown holding a love heart bearing a message.

At a first glance, the messages appear to be harmless – the type of slogans commonly seen on Valentine’s Day.

But on closer inspection, the words reveal a more sinister intent.

Each of the posters asks the question: is the male bear being ‘caring or controlling’?


Celebrity support

The ‘care or control’ campaign was launched by Refuge supporter Helena Bonham Carter.

Helena said: “The stereotypical view of domestic violence is a woman with bruising and black eyes. But I’ve learnt, through my work with Refuge, that violence is just one aspect of abuse.

I’ve met many women who have been controlled in more subtle ways, but have still lived in fear, walking on eggshells.

I believe this campaign has the ability to reach out to thousands of women so they can escape a lifetime of misery.”