Thursday 13 October sees the launch of one of the most thought-provoking videos to tackle the issue of domestic abuse in recent years.

On average, high-risk victims live with domestic abuse for over two years before getting specialist help. 1.9 million people experienced domestic abuse last year and almost two people a week were killed by their current or former partner. The new video powerfully demonstrates that there is a way out and encourages victims, or those that suspect they might know someone in an abusive relationship, to #breaktheroutine.

The video vividly captures the damaging cycle of abuse that so many victims endure. A harrowing dance routine sees the dance partners (a husband and wife team), depict repeat physical and coercive abuse (which is also now classified as a criminal offence), before the final moments show the perpetrator of the abuse trapped behind an invisible barrier and the victim of abuse safe on the other side.

The powerful video was created pro bono by leading international creative agency J Walter Thompson London, for Victim Support and for the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV). An exclusive Ellie Goulding track provides the haunting backing music for the dance and was also donated at no cost.

The video aims to highlight how people can get trapped in a routine of escalating violence and abuse that they feel powerless to break. It also aims to capture the very complex feelings and range of emotions that can be experienced in an abusive relationship and to dispel the myth that abusive relationships should be easy to leave. Figures show that on average people experience 2.3 years of abuse before seeking specialist support.

Sophie* is one survivor of domestic abuse who was able to break the routine.

“I’ve had broken ribs and a broken nose. I’ve had to sleep in the cupboard all night; I created a panic room in my cupboard and slept on my pile of clothes. Every time I told him to leave it was like a trigger for more abuse. Before him I was so confident, nothing bothered me and I would always stand up for myself. But I didn’t feel like myself anymore, it knocked my confidence.

“I didn’t know about Victim Support until Lorraine called me. Lorraine helped save my life; I don’t think I could have taken another year of that abuse.

“The scars will always be there but they don’t rule my life. I’m not afraid anymore, I’ve got my strength back and I’m so proud of myself.”

Lucy Hastings, Director of Engagement for Victim Support commented:

“Domestic abuse isn’t just about physical violence. Emotionally abusive behaviour can be just as traumatising, and thousands of people are affected by this every year.

“People experiencing abuse can often feel trapped in their situation or that they are to blame for what’s happening, but this is not the case. We offer non-judgemental, free and confidential help and support to anyone affected by abuse, whether or not the police are involved.”

Contact Victim Support today if you need free, confidential support.

*Name changed to protect identity

How to get help

How you can help

  • Please share this video as widely as possible across your social media platforms, using the hashtag #breaktheroutine, so that we can raise as much awareness as possible of the help that is available for anyone needing support.
  • If you’d like to find out more about what Victim Support does and stay up to date with our latest news and campaigns, sign up for email updates.
  • There are lots of other ways you can get involved to support our work, from volunteering to fundraising.  Find out more about how you can help.

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