You Can’t Hide Domestic Violence From Children: was the key message in a 2015 poster campaign by Royal Greenwich Council designed to highlight the negative effects of domestic abuse on young children.
The campaign was criticised for it’s unnecessarily negative portrayal of Greenwich Dads. The Council justified their message based on their understanding of domestic abuse data.
The campaign comprised of four posters designed to raise awareness and promote the domestic abuse services available within the Greenwich Borough.
The ‘Dads have the Strength to Change’ poster was widely criticised because many felt that it unfairly and unecessarily promoted a stereotypical image of dad’s as the sole perpetrators of domestic abuse experienced and witnessed by children.
Greenwich Council largely dismissed this criticism stating that they ‘recognise that the overwhelming majority of men are good fathers’ but that ‘whilst women can also be the cause of domestic violence, the majority of incidents are committed by men’.
According to their own website, Greenwich Council estimate that one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives.
Other relevant data indicates that around 1 in 5 children are exposed to domestic abuse; the most common type of abuse in dysfunctional relationships is bi-directional; people under 25 are most at risk of experiencing partner violence; the average age of fatherhood in the UK is now 32 years and six months and UK Crime surveys indicate that more married men experience partner abuse than married women.
Greenwich’s CEO responded to criticism by saying that that ‘the council have always sought to get across that this is a gender neutral issue and that the poster had to be seen within the context of a wider campaign supporting all victims and targeting all predators‘
Meanwhile Greenwich’s Community Safety and Environment Spokesperson confirmed that (contrary to the Public Sector Equality Duty) the Council did not talk to any ‘men’s/fathers’ groups or men’s domestic abuse charities when consulting relevant stakeholders about the proposed campaign.