Press Release

15 December 2020

Refuge launches ‘Background of Support’ campaign, featuring charity patron Olivia Colman, as huge numbers continue to experience domestic abuse 

Today 15th December, Refuge launches a donation-drive to help raise funds for women and children who are suffering from domestic abuse, by harnessing an overlooked media space – video conferencing backdrops.

Domestic abuse is the biggest social issue affecting women and children and has never been more of an issue than it is now, as COVID-19 restrictions have forced women and children to stay at home with their abusers. With new lockdown restrictions in place, and Christmas fast approaching, the end of 2020 is forecast to be very challenging for women and children experiencing domestic abuse across the country. Now more than ever, Refuge needs to reach survivors on a bigger scale, and must urgently generate the income needed to keep its services running.

This new fundraising campaign, created by BBH, launches with a simple yet powerful idea – to turn video conferencing backgrounds into donation spaces. With tens of millions of video calls happening each and every day, Refuge has harnessed this overlooked media channel to increase support for those who need it most.

The ‘Background of Support’ can be downloaded by anyone and used as a background on their video calls, to show support for Refuge. It features a powerful statistic on the number of women who experience abuse every year, in relation to the minutes spent on video calls, and a built-in QR that prompts viewers to support Refuge and help raise funds at this critical time. By turning this overlooked media space into a donation driving mechanism, Refuge is mobilising a network of supporters, helping to raise much needed funds for women and children suffering domestic abuse this winter.

The campaign launches with a film featuring Oscar-winner and Refuge patron, Olivia Colman, CBE, along with Refuge supporters, who explain the new fundraising feature and how the public can get involved. By using a combination of celebrities and supporters, the film reinforces the message that domestic abuse can happen to women from all walks of life. It also demonstrates the huge potential for this simple background change to go viral.

Lisa King, Director of Communications at Refuge says:

“Up and down the country, women and children are experiencing domestic abuse in their thousands. They are trapped with their abusers, cut off from support and isolated. With one in four women experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime and a shocking two women being killed every week by a current or former partner in England and Wales, statistics that even predate COVID-19, never before has raising awareness of domestic abuse and the life-saving support Refuge offers been more necessary.

“We hope that, as we reach the end of the year, people will show their festive spirit and support this simple action by lending ‘the background of support’ to their video calls. Taking this simple action will raise both awareness and vital funds. It’s a powerful idea but that will change lives and will help us keep the doors to our services open into the new year.”

Alongside the film, the background asset will also be visible in prominent OOH sites across the country, in which more people can simply raise their phone to the QR code and donate to Refuge.

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Notes to editors

Refuge media office
Tel: 0207 395 7731

For more information, please visit or follow Refuge’s work on and Twitter @RefugeCharity

Refuge encourages all media outlets to signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline, for free and confidential support, 24 hours a day,  call 0808 2000 247 or visit to access live chat.