Refuge subverts Father’s Day with hard-hitting ad



Domestic abuse charity looks at the flipside of Father’s Day with its ‘Turn To Us’ campaign telling opposing stories in one poem

  • Emotional poem shines a spotlight on child who witness and experience domestic abuse
  • One in five children thought to be living with domestic abuse
  • The poem tells a retrospective tale of a child remembering instances of domestic violence at the hands of his father when read in reverse

Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic violence charity, has unveiled a hard-hitting poem to raise awareness of the physical, psychological and emotional effects of domestic violence on children. In the lead up to Father’s Day, the poem recites a story of a child remembering his father while recounting specific instances of domestic abuse faced at home whilst growing up.

One of five in a collection of reversible poems, “Remembering my Father”, when read top to bottom, tells the story of a happy child reminiscing his loving father, but when read in reverse, it depicts the terrifying tale of domestic abuse as experienced by a child. The award winning campaign[i], created for Refuge by advertising agency McCann Bristol, aims to raise awareness of the prevalence of domestic abuse and the huge number of children affected on a daily basis and that no one, no matter what time of year, should suffer in silence. They should turn to Refuge for support.

Even now, domestic abuse is persistent and widespread; there are more than 800,000 children in the UK each year living in a family with domestic violence[ii]. Refuge believes that no-one should have to live in fear of violence and abuse.

Speaking on growing up with domestic abuse as a child, award winning actor and Refuge patron Sir Patrick Stewart OBE says “As a child I witnessed repeated violence against my mother – but there was nowhere to go for help. The truth is, domestic violence is protected by silence. More women and children just like my mother and me, will continue to experience abuse unless we all speak out against it.”

 Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says “Children witness and experience domestic abuse all year round; for many Father’s Day will be like any other day, filled with fear and uncertainty. Refuge supports over 3,000 children across its specialist services every day and with our expert support they can overcome the trauma of witnessing or experiencing violence and go on to live safe, happy lives.

“On Father’s Day we hope the ‘Remembering our Father’ poem is shared far and wide to raise awareness that any woman and child experiencing domestic violence should reach out and access support – they are not alone. Today’s children are tomorrow’s future and we at Refuge want to give all children a future growing up free from violence and fear.”

Click on the thumbnail image below to read the poem in full.

Get help now. If your partner turns on you, turn to us. If you are in need of support please visit our support pages.

For more information, please email or call 0207 395 7731. Outside of working hours, please call 07970 894240.


[i] The reversible poem campaign has won a slew of awards as a result, including a D&AD wood pencil, a One Show silver pencil, and nine Creative Circle accolades. It is now hotly tipped at the Cannes Lions, the advertising world’s Oscars, which start on Monday 17th June.

[ii] According to the Children’s Commissioner.