A SERIES of short films are this week being released to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the impact it has on victims and children.

It is part of a campaign to encourage more people to report domestic abuse and has been launched to correspond with International Women’s Day on Thursday.

The films, released online, have been produced by Viewpoint Community Media in partnership with Swindon Women’s Aid and were funded by a grant from the police and crime commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson.

Hannah Parry, development officer at Voluntary Action Swindon, has been one of the brains behind the project and is keen to spread the message as far as possible.

She said: “It’s been a real eye-opener to work with Swindon Women’s Aid on this project. We all know that domestic abuse happens, but what I think most people don’t realise it just how common it is.

“Speaking with the survivors involved, we’ve also realised just how much can be done to tackle it if we all work together to solve this problem.”

Although the films, released all week from Monday, mark International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the achievements of women, they are also acting as a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

Olwen Kelly, director of Swindon Women’s Aid, and who is featured in the films, was thrilled to have been involved with the project and she hoped it could make a real difference to people’s lives.

She said: “We are delighted in recognition of International Women’s Day to promote these films which highlight the complexity of domestic abuse and in acknowledgement that the majority of this is a gendered issue of violence against women”.

The videos also form part of a project to promote equality and inclusion in Swindon. Launched in 2017 by Voluntary Action Swindon and the Swindon Equality Coalition, Swindon200 aims to involve local people in making the town “a place of fairness, inclusion, opportunity and fulfilment for all who live and work here”.

The videos explore the impact that domestic abuse has on victims, including children, but also share information on where they can go for support.

One video is focused specifically on young people and how they can spot warning signs and look out for unhealthy relationships.

Also included in the series is a film about perpetrators and what kind of support they can receive to help them break out of the cycle, and a film about Swindon Women’s Aid, described by Hannah as “a top class refuge that we’re lucky to have in Swindon”.

Olwen added: “We hope in raising awareness of this important issue more people will come forward and report domestic abuse and violence, we urge anyone who may witness or even suspect it, to call the police anonymously to pass on their concerns - as one call really could save someone’s life”

The films are viewable online at www.swindonviewpoint.com and via the Swindon200 social media pages.