COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Refugee Action unveils asylum joint initiative

Refugee Action has hired a communications agency that specialises in social issues for its first partner campaign, which highlights the lives of female asylum seekers.

Indie band Radiohead and Vogue photographer Andrew Lamb have lent their support to the multi-media initiative, which launched yesterday (Tuesday).

By working with creative artists, the charity hopes to create empathy for refugee women, whose lives can be depersonalised by a hostile media.

The campaign involves a web site, direct mail and a documentary video. It reveals how refugee women can run a gauntlet of daily abuse from an ill-informed public. The Forster Company, which specialises in issues campaigns, developed the creative.

Leigh Daynes, communications manager at Refugee Action, said: "We wanted to get beyond typical images associated with refugee women to show that they are, first and foremost, people. We are aiming to set the news agenda."

Personalities including Anna Ford, Germaine Greer and Anita Roddick have given messages of support for the campaign.

Findings from a report commissioned by the charity showed that 83 per cent of refugee women live under a self-imposed curfew as they are scared of being attacked; one-third have been verbally or physically abused. Thirty per cent of UK asylum seekers are female.

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