Women’s Aid releases harrowing spot ahead of Christmas season

Campaign created by Engine Creative.

Women’s Aid Federation of England has launched a campaign showcasing the harsh realities of life for women in abusive relationships ahead of the holiday season.

Created by Engine Creative, “Respite” shows a mum and her son as they play games and listen to music in a car. It becomes apparent that they spend most of the day in there as the mother lies to her partner about being caught up in the queues at the shops.

“Domestic abuse has escalated during lockdown,” the ad declares before encouraging members of the public to protect women and children by donating to Women’s Aid.

Launched as 60- and 90-second versions, the work was created by Tian Murphy and Charlie Gee, and directed by Molly Burdett through Spindle and No.8. 

"We know at Women’s Aid that many women experiencing abuse try to get through the Christmas period for the sake of their children and their wider family, then reach out to us for support in the New Year,” Nicki Norman, acting chief executive at Women’s Aid said.

“The combined impact of the pandemic and the festive season will be significant for survivors of domestic abuse, who have told us that, this year, they have already felt trapped with their abusers during lockdown.”  

A Women’s Aid report from August found that abuse had worsened for 61% of women experiencing abuse and isolation after the first lockdown.

Norman added: “Women are experiencing patterns of control and physical, emotional, economic and sexual abuse day in, day out – both Covid and the festive season can make existing abuse even worse.”

In April, Women’s Aid launched a campaign highlighting the dangers of domestic abuse during the coronavirus lockdown

Christopher Ringsell, creative director at Engine Creative, said: “This subtle and impactful film shows just how important any respite from an abusive partner can be. 

“The lengths women have to go to for some small moments of normality, demonstrates how traumatic it is being in lockdown with a perpetrator.”