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Essex Council lauded for domestic violence campaign

Crime / Sat 14th Mar 2015 at 01:10pm

AN innovative and unique campaign, which helped victims of domestic abuse to become survivors, was highly commended at the Local Government Chronicle Awards on Wednesday.

The joint ‘Standing Together’ campaign by Essex County Council and Essex Police was launched in June 2014 and reached millions of people worldwide.

This was the largest multi-agency campaign of its kind to ever to be carried out in Essex and was aimed at raising awareness of domestic abuse, breaking taboos and helping victims.

The communications campaign reached millions of people worldwide, achieved a 2048% increase in website views across agencies, achieved positive national media coverage and empowered victims to leave abusive relationships and to seek help.

Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Children, Cllr Dick Madden said: “This is a great achievement and I am delighted that this successful campaign has been recognised nationally. This campaign was unique in that we worked with victims of domestic abuse throughout and they had a big influence on what we did.

“The results of the campaign show that not only did it raise awareness of an issue often seen as taboo, it also empowered victims to leave abusive relationships and to seek help, which of course is an incredible outcome.”

To inform the campaign, the communications team held focus groups with domestic abuse survivors and staff from refuges and domestic abuse charities. This was the first time survivors were involved in the early stages of campaign planning.

The input from survivors resulted in two key campaign features. The first was a social media campaign which asked people to take a photograph of their feet and post it, accompanied by the hashtags #tweetyourfeet #notodomesticabuse. This social media based campaign achieved around 1,000 photos uploaded on Twitter and online impressions of posts and pictures using the hashtags totalled almost 8 million. The social media campaign was also seen worldwide, with online activity taking place as far as Australia, America, Australia and Africa.

The second concept focused on the difference leaving an abusive relationship could make through using positive images and language, including quotes from survivors. The images featured on posters and leaflets distributed across the county, as well as online. These images were very different to any domestic abuse campaign material seen before.

The campaign also utilised online advertising, including Facebook, digital display adverts and Google pay per click, which reached millions of people. A dedicated campaign webpage was set up, featuring a campaign web film as its centrepiece, which achieved over 3,500 views.

As well as the awareness created by the campaign, Safer Places, a local charity which provides a comprehensive range of services to adults and children affected by domestic abuse, saw a 35% increase in referrals during the campaign and a threefold increase in referrals for refuge space; they told us that the campaign was undoubtedly a contributor. This means that victims were encouraged to seek help after seeing our campaign.

For more information on the ‘Standing Together’ campaign and for information and advice on domestic abuse, please visit www.essex.police.uk/standingtogether

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