About the community
Women and their children escaping from abusive relationships find themselves having to cope with homelessness, often living temporarily with family or friends, or residing in bed sits. A lack of employable skills and work experience makes gaining employment almost impossible for victims of domestic abuse, who have often been totally dependent on their partner.
The Community Voices project
The project aimed to create a film that would allow women to speak out about their experiences, to challenge mis-conceptions of who can be affected by domestic violence and raise awareness of the issue to encourage a broader dialogue about this difficult social problem. Working with the charity The Haven, the women would lead the content and production to create a film about their personal experiences, explaining the types of abuse that they suffered and why they initially didn't leave their relationship. The film would be screened at a local cinema and online to raise awareness and amongst the local community as well as nationally.
What the community did
Working with local media company Lighthouse Media the community developed their ideas for how to tell their stories through film. The group learnt film, editing and production skills and worked to create a film based on the stories and ideas developed by the community. In total nine stories across 5 refuges were recorded for the film, a further six stories from ex-service users were also captured. One member produced artwork that was displayed in a local gallery and another produced 20 poems which were displayed.
The short film was screened in a local cinema to three audiences on the 11th March 2011 – firstly, to an invited audience of local politicians, senior members of the local authority and representatives from community radio stations.
How it changed the community
It changed the community in several ways, some of them unexpected: