PUBLIC SECT0R: Agency aids Refuge anti-violence PR

Refuge, the national charity to combat domestic violence, is to begin a major PR and public affairs campaign following the announcement of Government plans to address the issue.

The charity has appointed Good Relations to handle the work alongside Refuge's Jo White, who has joined as head of PR, a newly created role.

The appointments follow the publication in the summer of the White Paper Justice for All to tackle the issue, as well as a comprehensive review of the charity's communications strategy.

White said: 'There seems to be the political will to recognise domestic violence for the crime that it is. We are hoping these are the first steps towards cultural change and want to support the commitment of the Government to resolve this issue with substantial legislation.'

James O'Keefe, a director at the newly renamed Good Relations Political Communications division, said: 'This is going to be a seriously high-profile political issue next year. All the big parties have recognised it is an appropriate social policy issue for action and probably also a vote winner.

'We will be making sure that Refuge is engaged and consulted on the strategy,' he added.

Initially, the agency will help with the charity's lobbying efforts, beginning at the political conferences now underway.

Next year there will be a major awareness-building PR campaign to coincide with an ad campaign. The agency also hopes to organise some CSR activity.

White was previously a consultant to the UN Development Programme, helping the London office find strategic partners in the UK. Before that she was PR manager at the Good Corporation.

Refuge has only ever used PR agencies in a reactive way, connected with specific campaigns.

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