AN ARTS education organisation has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of people who are at higher risk of domestic abuse during lockdown.

Bishop Auckland-based Changing Relations delivers education and training to schools and businesses and uses the arts to transform the way people think about unhealthy relationships, such as those which are abusive.

Its recent work, Us Too, is a moving and powerful soundscape which gives voices to the unheard victims of domestic abuse, such as those in same sex relationships, men and older people.

Now, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is raising awareness of domestic abuse and the breadth of people who could be affected during the enforced lockdown. It is using the hashtag #notallsafeathome to highlight organisations which offer help to victims of abuse, share statistics and excerpts from Us Too.

Lisa Charlotte Davis, managing director of Changing Relations, said: “Not everyone will be feeling safe at home right now and could be living in terror feeling there’s no escape. We wanted to share our powerful soundscape, Us Too, to help people understand that there are so many different faces of domestic abuse and to help victims know that they are not alone. We’ll also be joining with other organisations to point people in the right direction for the support they need.”

The campaign comes as research has revealed a significant rise in online searches relating to domestic violence during lockdown. According to online research company, SEMrush, traffic to the website for the National Domestic Abuse Helpline increased by 156 per cent from February to March.

A report produced by the National Rural Crime Network last year found that those living in rural areas, such as Teesdale and North Yorkshire, were half as likely to report their abuse to others and experienced abuse for 25 per cent longer.

Ruth McNee, regional manager of Crimestoppers Trust, said: “No part of society is free from abuse. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, this happens in every community and it’s happening now.”

The company, supported by Teesdale Action Partnership, showcased Us Too alongside the Bowes Museum’s Guido Reni exhibition earlier this year.

Pollyanna Turner, Barnard Castle-based artistic director at Changing Relations, said. “We need everyone to get behind our campaign to reach as many people as possible. It could help save lives.

To find out more about #notallsafeathome find Changing Relations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Twitter: @changerelations

Facebook.com/ChangeRelations

https://www.instagram.com/changingrelations/