Warning signs

cropped poster - logo pic and sloganRefuge launched this hard-hitting campaign to raise awareness of the warning signs of domestic violence – and to save lives.

Every single week two women are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. Refuge believes that forewarned is forearmed. Our powerful adverts, printed in 2008, aimed to educate the public about this shocking fact – and on how to spot whether they or someone they know may be experiencing abuse.




What we did

poster thumbThe warning signs

Refuge wanted to let the public know that if a woman is experiencing certain behaviours from her partner, it is likely she is being abused. The aim of an abusive man’s behaviour, whether conscious or unconscious, is to take control of the woman’s life – and spotting this behaviour could save her life. Read more about the warning signs here.

young people research thumbNew research on awareness

Refuge teamed up with YouGov to release new research, which showed a worrying lack of awareness among young women of the techniques used by violent men to control their victims. Fully 81% said they received no information about domestic violence when they were at school, and only 25% of respondents understood the more subtle techniques of control, such as jealousy and possessiveness.

poster in camden 180Advertising campaign

Refuge designed a hard-hitting poster to raise awareness of the fact that two women die every week at the hands of their partners or ex-partners – and to share the early warning signs of domestic abuse. The poster was displayed on billboards throughout London and published in newspapers and magazines. The week the campaign launched, visits to Refuge’s website increased seven-fold. Click here to view the poster.

Cherie 180Celebrity support

Refuge’s warning signs campaign was supported by a number of high profile celebrities, individuals and organisations. These included Helena Bonham Carter, Refuge patron Sir Patrick Stewart, Cherie Booth QC and Jo Brand, as well as Amnesty International and the End Violence Against Women Coalition.





“My ex was so charming at the start of our relationship that I felt very flattered by him. But after a short time the jealousy started, along with the mood swings, where he would readily switch from being charming to being abusive.


“I lived my life walking on eggshells. I experienced nearly all of the warning signs – I was very closely controlled, criticised and isolated from friends and family. I just didn’t realise that these were the warning signs, I didn’t recognise this as domestic violence. If I had known then what I know now, my life would have been quite different.”