Refuge looks for a port in a tech storm as domestic abuse charity reaches 50

At first it’s yet another smartphone ad, detailing how you can beat the traffic and other life-saving features. Then we’re told that maps in real time can “keep you up to date with traffic in your area… and her movements”, while smart home features can be used to adjust to adjust the heating and lights “even when you’re not at home, so you can control her from wherever you are.”

More tech dystopia but this time it’s for domestic violence charity Refuge from BBH – celebrating its 50th birthday, if that’s the word – highlighting the increasing role tech plays in disturbed relationships, with abusers using it to monitor and control their partners.

Refuge CEO Ruth Davison says: “Fifty years on from opening the world’s first Refuge there is sadly little to be celebrating. The numbers of women experiencing domestic abuse appears to be rising, not decreasing, and Refuge has never needed support from the public to support its work more.

“The rise of tech and smart products are of major concern to Refuge. While it is a massive enabler in our lives, for women experiencing domestic abuse it is an ever-growing tool used to create fear, harass, intimidate and control them.

“Refuge is dealing with these complex issues head-on. It is our job to ensure we support women and meet their needs in a climate where abuse is becoming easier and more complex and ensure that women are not forced offline, or to abandon their tech devices, but instead are empowered to use tech safely and confidently. But we can’t achieve this on our own. We need support from the public and our funders more than ever before – women’s lives depend on it.”

Almost too convincingly a smartphone ad but good from BBH, an idea!

MAA creative scale: 7.5.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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