Four ways to speak out

Refuge and Avon encouraged the public to ‘Speak Out Against Domestic Violence’ in a powerful national campaign.


Families who had lost sisters, daughters and mothers to domestic violence also joined forces with Refuge and Avon, whose global philanthropy has raised more than $660 million worldwide.

The 2009 ‘Four Ways To Speak Out’ campaign urged people to ‘speak out’ against domestic violence in four simple ways:

1. Speak to the government

Supporters could sign a petition calling on the government to put an end to the ‘postcode lottery’ of domestic violence services. One in three local authorities do not provide any specialist domestic violence services at all.

2. Speak out to save lives

Supporters could buy and wear Avon’s Empowerment Necklace to commemorate the women killed by domestic violence and help fund vital domestic violence services.

3. Speak to your local community

Supporters were urged to download a poster from the campaign microsite and display it in their local community.

4. Speak to your friends and family

Supporters were encouraged to share the campaign with friends and family.


Campaign launch

A special event was held to launch the campaign and commemorate the deaths of the 72 women who were killed by domestic violence between 2007 and 2008.

Families of women killed by their partners and ex-partners were present at the launch.

72 dramatic cut-out silhouettes were erected on Potter’s Field, next to Tower Bridge in London, in remembrance of the shocking death toll taken by domestic violence.


Families of domestic violence victims

Andy Overton, brother to Rebecca Kowal who was killed by her partner Robert Byrom on 8 May 2008, says: “My sister Rebecca 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 Rebecca dying at the hands of abusive men.”

Sharon de Souza lost her 24-year-old daughter Cassandra on 29 July 2008, when she was stabbed to death by her husband Harjudin, 33 years of age.  At the time of her murder she was attempting to flee to a refuge. Sharon says: ‘My daughter, Cassie, was brutally murdered by her estranged husband last July, leaving behind two young children. I know that she would want me to seek justice on her behalf, which is why I have joined this campaign to try and speak up for every grieving mother – for every family tragically torn apart by this wholly predictable and preventable crime. I urge you to join me in this campaign and Speak Out Against Domestic Violence.’

David Sparks lost his daughter Deanna, aged 39, when Stephen Singer, aged 37, drugged her omelette with sleeping pills and then proceeded to batter her head and trap her in a blazing room, where she died on 28 August 2008.  David says: “My daughter Dee Sparks was brutally murdered by her partner, Stephen Singer. He beat her and left her in a burning flat to die.  Every week this horrific crime takes the lives of more women like Dee.  In a civilized society like our this shouldn’t be happening.   This is why I am supporting the Four Ways To Speak Out campaign. Domestic violence can be stopped – but only if we all speak out. ”

Celebrity supporters

Domestic violence is not a private matter. Behind closed doors domestic violence intensifies. When women and children, and sometimes men, are abused, we must speak loudly against it. Domestic violence is a crime and must be exposed.

Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE

We all have a responsibility to challenge domestic violence. That is why I am adding my voice to the Four Ways to Speak Out campaign. Please do the same and stand up for abused women and children everywhere.

Dame Helen Mirren

I support the Four Ways To Speak Out campaign because no woman or child deserves to live in fear. We must work together to support women and children experiencing domestic violence and spread the word that it is not acceptable, ever.

Chris Rea

Supporting the Four Ways To Speak Out campaign can be as simple as putting up a poster. That poster could reach out to a woman experiencing domestic violence and tell her where to get help.

Fiona Bruce 

Refuge would also like to thank the following celebrities for signing the Speak Out petition:

–    Janet Ellis
–    Maxine Peake
–    Sheryl Gascoigne
–    Bianca Gascoigne
–    Ruby Wax
–    Helena Bonham Carter
–    Jo Brand
–    Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE
–    Dame Helen Mirren
–    Madeline Peyroux
–    Lorraine Kelly
–    Andrea Catherwood
–    Oliva Inge
–    Daisy De Villeneuve
–    Donna Air
–    Camilla Rutherford