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Refuge ‘Speak Out’ Twitter campaign

Refuge ‘Speak Out’ Twitter campaign

A social media campaign being run by Code Computerlove on behalf of domestic violence charity Refuge and Avon, the company for women, gained a massive boost after a number of high profile celebrities tweeted their support.  


Early in 2010, Code created a microsite for Four Ways To Speak Out, a campaign being run by Refuge and Avon to generate awareness of ways that lives can be saved – buying and wearing Avon’s empowerment necklace, signing an online petition, printing off and displaying posters and by simply speaking to family and friends to encourage them to join Refuge’s campaign


Refuge and Avon’s joint petition is lobbying the Government to ensure that every woman and child, no matter where they live, can access specialist domestic violence services. It is specifically challenging the fact that a third of local authorities has NO specialist support for women and children experiencing domestic violence.


Social media was the natural platform to help the charity gain signatures for this petition, part of this Four Ways To Speak Out campaign.


One of the challenges facing Refuge is eradicating the taboos and wall of silence which ‘hides’ domestic violence – an issue which claims the lives of 12 women every week, with one woman in four experiencing domestic violence at some time in her life.  

Social media provides an important platform that allows everyone to show their support for Refuge and its work in a very visible way. Similarly, domestic violence is a societal problem, not an individual issue, and we all have a part to play in bringing it to an end, so the fact that Twitter and Facebook allow people to share and speak out so easily, and encourage others to take action too, was ideal for our campaign.

Due to the unpredictability of social media campaigns, Code geared up for any peaks in awareness and surges in signatures, and negotiated a discounted rate on bandwidth usage with UK Grid; but getting the support of such high profile social media users was more than the campaign could have hoped for and very nearly toppled the back office system! It really does demonstrate the effect social media can have on getting messages out there.  


One of the key celebrity tweeters was Stephen Fry, who boasts more than 1.5m followers.

Stephen’s Tweet “RT Speak out against domestic violence – sign petition to Government with @Avon_UK #speakoutnow” helped to generate thousands of signatures within minutes of broadcast and helped Refuge to generate more than 7,000 signatures within just one day – moving the charity well on the way to its 10,000 signature target, which it hopes to achieve by November.  

Claudia Winkleman, Amanda Holden, Lorraine Kelly, Fay Ripley, Angela Griffin, Jenny Faulkner and Lauren Laverne also re-tweeted the message about Refuge’s petition.

In total after just one day, the Facebook application that Code created to enable people to quickly and easily sign the petition was “Liked” by more than 1,000 Facebook users. Around 3,000 people also invited their social media networks to sign the petition.

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