Major domestic violence awareness raising campaign crescendos on Christmas Eve with new film, radio and digital creative


Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic violence charity, launches a second phase of its major domestic violence awareness raising campaign at Christmas.

Earlier this month, a series of poems were unveiled. The poems, when read top to bottom appear as ‘standard’ poems; but when read in reverse, bottom to top, reveal a chilling story about domestic abuse. Since the launch, the poems have received unprecedented media and digital exposure, gaining support from high profile individuals such as Paloma Faith, Nicola Roberts, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Richard Herring, amongst others.

To continue to spotlight domestic violence and reach even more women and children in need, the chilling poems have now been adapted into three new formats. Two powerful short films, Mistletoe and Auld Lang Syne*, a radio advert (read by long-standing supporter Maxine Peake) and an innovative mobile version have been unveiled today.

Maxine Peake’s radio ad will air on Planet Rock and Heart Radio between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. One of the short films will premiere on Sky1 on Christmas Day during James Cordon’s Carpool Karaoke. Listen to the ad below and download it here


The interactive mobile versions of the Mistletoe, Christmas Eve and Auld Lang Syne poems should be viewed on a mobile device. When a device is flipped 180 degrees the poems reverse to reveal the domestic violence message.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the hidden, insidious nature of domestic violence, and let victims know that, when their partner ‘turns’ and becomes controlling, they can turn to Refuge for the support they need to escape and rebuild their lives. Even now, in 2018, one in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Two women a week are killed at the hands of a partner or ex-partner in England and Wales. And on average, another three women a week commit suicide as a way of escape.

Maxine said: “I’m delighted to support Refuge’s Christmas campaign to raise awareness of the terrifying reality that women and children face when they live with a perpetrator of domestic violence.

“Nobody should have to live in fear in their own home at any time of the year, but for those who do, it’s a relief to know that they can turn to Refuge’s services throughout the country and know that they will be listened to, believed and supported to rebuild their lives free from violence and coercion.”

Refuge believes that no-one should have to live in fear of violence and abuse. On any given day Refuge supports more than 6,500 survivors, helping them to escape violence and fear and rebuild their lives.

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says: “Two women are killed by their current or former partners every week in England and Wales alone. Domestic abuse is the biggest issue affecting women and children in this country today – it really is a life and death issue. Yet still too few women know how to spot the signs of domestic violence, realise that domestic abuse is a crime or know that Refuge is here to support them.

“Domestic violence happens all year round – including at Christmas. We want women to know that no matter what time of year, no one should suffer in silence and they should ‘turn’ to us for support.”

Get help now. If your partner turns on you, turn to us. If you are in need of support please use the information on our website.

For more information, please email or call 0207 395 7731 | 07970 894240 (out of hours)

*The TV adverts will premiere on Sky1 on Christmas Day during James Cordon’s Carpool Karaoke. Award-winning director Steve Reeves of Another Film Company created the two powerful 60-second films shot on one continuous rolling film