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Last Updated: Monday, 22 September, 2003, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Row over 'naming and shaming'
Still from the cinema advertisement
Diners ignore the attack in the cinema advert
A woman's charity has backed a tabloid newspaper's campaign to "name and shame" domestic violence offenders as part of a drive to highlight the crime.

Refuge is supporting The Sun's decision to list individual criminals and recount the stories of the women they abused.

But the civil rights group Liberty said while the "scale and horror" of domestic violence had been ignored for too long it did not believe the newspaper campaign was a suitable way to deal with the problem.

It coincides with the release of a cinema advertisement against domestic violence by the charity.

This nationwide campaign starts the same day as the Metropolitan police launch their own poster campaign against abusers.

Hidden abuse

The cinema advert shows a verbal and physical attack on a woman by her partner in a restaurant, while her table companions ignore them.

Refuge chief executive Sandra Horley said: "Sadly, even in this day and age domestic violence is not only widespread, but largely unacknowledged, hidden or otherwise excused.

Subjecting convicted criminals to public humiliation - and the possibility of vigilante attacks - is not the way we would expect a responsible newspaper to behave
Liberty

"It is a crime and it must not be ignored. "

Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti said: "It is to be regretted that they have focused their story around publicly exposing half a dozen perpetrators.

"What is needed is a change in the law and a change in approach from the police and other authorities.

"Subjecting convicted criminals to public humiliation - and the possibility of vigilante attacks - is not the way we would expect a responsible newspaper to behave."

Refuge is also teaming up with The Body Shop to encourage people to recycle their mobile phones with 2.75 from each phone going to the charity.

Meanwhile the Scotland Yard campaign is based around the slogan "Your partner's silence no longer protects you" to emphasise police action can now be taken without the support of the victim.

The police poster campaign will target male offenders
The police poster campaign will target male offenders
The campaign was launched at Arsenal Football Club's Highbury stadium on Monday.

Police research showed almost 85% of domestic violence abusers are men, with nearly 67% aged between 21 and 40.

"This advertising campaign is specifically targeted at them," said Deputy commissioner Sir Ian Blair.

'Time to reflect'

As men usually read newspapers from back to front, adverts will appear on the sports and business pages to grab their attention.

There will also be adverts "at sites where people have time to reflect" - men's toilets in pubs, restaurants and cinemas, taxi seats, stickers in gym lockers, adverts in football programmes and advertising vans outside London football and rugby matches.

There were 104,050 domestic violence incidents recorded by police in London last year, including one in four murders in the capital being domestic related.

Naive

A charity that helps both male and female victims of domestic violence, Men's Aid, said it was "stereotypical" of the Met to focus only on men.

Project manager David Gordon told BBC News Online the campaign showed "the naivety of the police" to target specifically on male-oriented activities, particularly football.

"It's a bit of a shame just picking on one sex," he added.

He said the charity received about 25 calls a week from male victims and another 15 or so from mothers, sisters and daughters ringing on behalf of male victims.




SEE ALSO:
Scale of domestic abuse uncovered
18 Feb 03  |  UK News
Helpline for domestic violence
11 Dec 02  |  UK News
Paper defends paedophile campaign
16 Dec 01  |  UK News


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