The global cosmetics company has launched a campaign to help at-risk women
In the midst of this dreadful coronavirus pandemic, women and children already at risk of domestic violence have become increasingly vulnerable: an unintended consequence of the isolation measures that leave survivors trapped at home with their abusers.
To tackle the spike, the Natura&Co family of brands – that’s Avon, Natura, The Body Shop, and Aesop – are uniting with national and international organisations to help at-risk women. These vital charities, including women’s charity Refuge, deliver frontline services to domestic violence survivors and genuinely save lives every day.
Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women has launched the campaign, named #IsolatedNotAlone, with three key goals:
- to raise critical awareness of the silent epidemic.
- to signpost where to go for help and how to identify and support those at risk.
- to call on governments around the world to expand funding and resources to deal with the increased incidence of violence.
As Marie Claire reports domestic violence hotlines in the UK are dramatically increasing and the UK coronavirus death toll passes 21,000, Samantha Jago, a family law partner at DMH Stallard, says the secret killer of Covid-19 may be domestic abuse due to lockdown. She expands, ‘A victim is now trapped in a household for an indefinite period with their abuser, with no direct access to help. Deaths of women from domestic abuse has risen from an average of two deaths a week to five since lockdown’.
In response to these shocking reports, Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women has vowed a $1m (£804,075) commitment to front-line services to support women and children in need and at risk, including money going directly to helplines and refuges. The make-up and skincare brand has long championed the rights and safety of women, and over 15 years it has donated over $80m (£64,315,664) to non-governmental organisations tackling violence against women and girls.
Recently responding to the demand for hygiene products, Avon switched some of its manufacturing lines to produce 600,000 units of hand gel, with a proportion of these products being ring-fenced for NHS staff and domestic abuse service users and staff. The money made from the hand gel sales will go towards Avon’s £150,000 donation to Refuge, to help keep frontline services open during the pandemic.
Avon CEO Angela Cretu told Marie Claire, ‘We’re going to make sure those who are isolated know they are not alone. We also need to take urgent action to keep front-line services open. In addition to giving funds to non governmental organisations, our Avon teams will be donating vital products – from personal care to hand sanitisers and soaps – to refuges across the world.’
You can read Avon’s letter to governments here – and you can share the company’s call to action on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #IsolatedNotAlone. This will help ensure domestic abuse survivors get the protection they deserve.
Dame Vera Baird, Victims Commissioner for England and Wales, has also advised the Home Affairs Select Committee that a, ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme be introduced, so that if a victim is out shopping they can use a code word, recognised by shop assistants, as a call for help with domestic abuse.
It is imperative we keep domestic abuse at the front of our minds, and continue to campaign for action to help those who cannot ask for help themselves.
Help is here. Please contact any of the below charities if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse. If you are a victim unable to speak due to your situation, call 999 and then press 55. The operator will know that it is a domestic abuse call.
- Women’s Aid (womensaid.org.uk). They provide LiveChat lines and you can email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Refuge (refuge.org.uk) The charity is currently asking people to buy refuge parcels containing supplies that women and children urgently need when escaping domestic violence. Click here to select and send a parcel.
- The National Domestic Violence Helpline on Freephone 24-hour 0808 2000 247